* CPFL sought data about seized utility Celtins
* Celtins is owned by debt-laden Rede Energia
* J&F is in talks about Celtins: administrator
BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, Oct 5 CPFL Energia
, Brazil's largest private sector electricity
distributor, asked for financial and operating information about
Celtins, a smaller rival that was recently seized by regulators
and could be put up for sale, Celtins' administrator said on
Itaú BBA, the investment banking unit of Itaú Unibanco
Holding, requested the information at the behest of
CPFL, said Isaac Averbuch, the official overseeing the seizure
of Celtins. Celtins is controlled by Grupo Rede Energia
, which saw eight units taken over by regulators about
a month ago.
CPFL also asked for information about other Rede Energia
companies, Averbuch said, without giving out details. Currently
Celtins is in talks with creditors InterAmerican Development
Bank and Banco Santander Brasil to stretch
out payment terms on 192 million reais ($95 million), he added.
"We sense there's willingness on their part," Averbuch said,
referring to Celtins' creditors. He also said other groups
including J&F, an investment holding company owned by the family
that controls meatpacker JBS, have shown interest in
assets of Rede Energia.
Electricity regulator Aneel seized Celtins on Aug. 31,
marking the strongest ever state intervention in the sector to
prevent a halt in service in six states. Aneel took over control
of Celtins, Cemat, Enersul, CFLO, Caiuá, Bragantina, Vale
Paranapanema and Nacional, all of which were suffering from
serious financial and operational problems.
Rede Energia's assets have been considered a takeover target
as the government and private companies boost their market share
in power distribution, a segment in which bigger scale offsets
the risk of lower power rates in coming years. Consolidation is
key for the companies, known as DisCos, to gain financial and
CPFL declined to comment. Itaú BBA did not have an immediate
comment on the matter. Efforts to reach a spokesperson for Rede
Energia were unsuccessful.