REFILE-China grid, Portugal's REN ink joint venture MOU

Wed Jul 4, 2012 10:21am EDT

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By Wan Xu and Ken Wills

BEIJING, July 4 (Reuters) - China's dominant utility firm State Grid Corp has agreed with Portugal's power grid operator to set up a technology research and development centre in Portugal and a joint venture consulting firm, State Grid said in a statement.

The firm said on its official website it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Wednesday with Redes Energeticas Nacionais SGPS SA (REN).

It marks the latest move after State Grid bought a 25 percent stake in REN earlier this year, and follows recent news on State Grid's interest in taking over Spain's power grid operator Red Electrica.

With the MOU: "the two parties will set up technology R&D centre in Portugal, to provide strong technology support and business support for REN's sustainable development, and to expand REN's influence and competitiveness in the Iberian Peninsula and even in the whole of Europe," according to the statement.

The joint venture consulting firm will help State Grid and REN to have more power project cooperation in Portuguese-speaking countries, State Grid said, without elaborating.

Portuguese media Agencia Financeira reported the joint consultancy will be built in Brazil, and State Grid will invest 12 million euros in building the technology center in Portugal.

State Grid took its 25 percent stake in REN earlier this year as part of Portugal's privatisation drive under an international bailout of its economy.

In May this year, State Grid agreed to buy seven electricity transmission assets in Brazil from Spanish builder Actividades de Construcción y Servicios SA (ACS).

In December 2010, State Grid bought seven Brazilian power transmission concessions with investments totaling nearly $1 billion. (Reporting by Wan Xu and Ken Wills; Editing by Keiron Henderson)

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