RIO DE JANEIRO May 15 Centrais Eletricas
Brasileiras SA, Latin America's largest utility, on
Thursday recorded a 986 million ($444.1 million) first-quarter
profit, its biggest in a year and a half, as a drought sent
power prices to record highs.
Eletrobras, as the Brazilian state-run company is known,
lost 36 million reais in the year-earlier quarter and 5.5
billion reais in the fourth quarter, the company said in a
Full standardized balance sheets and income statements were
not immediately available on the Eletrobras website or on the
website of Brazil's securities regulator, the CVM.
The profit, the first in three quarters, comes after a
15-month period during which the company lost more than 17
billion reais, an amount more than the company's total profits
for the previous decade.
The losses were the result of Brazilian president Dilma
Rousseff's decision in late 2012 to force most Brazilian
utilities to slash industrial and consumer power rates under
long-term contracts by about 20 percent in exchange for early
and guaranteed renewal of soon-to-expire contracts to operate
Many of those rate cuts, though, are already being wiped out
by drought that has caused water levels in the bulk of Brazil's
hydrodams to fall to their lowest levels in more than a decade.
The resulting spike in spot-market electricity rates allowed
Eletronorte, the Eletrobras subsidiary in Brazil's northern
Amazon region, the one area where rains have filled Brazil's
hydrodams, to increase its take from electricity sales on the
Alone, the Eletronorte subsidiary recorded a profit of 1.1
billion reais, the statement said.
Results were also boosted by improved results at the
money-losing distribution utility in Brazil's Maranhao state and
the sale of another troubled distribution utility in Mato Grosso
state to utility Energisa, the statement said.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization, or EBITDA, a measure of the company's ability to
generate cash from operations, was 1.69 billion reais in the
first quarter, the company said.
That result was 93 times greater than the 18 million EBITDA
result a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data, and
comes after a negative EBITDA of 3.83 billion reais in the
($1 = 2.22 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Ken Wills)