* Reliance to buy 3 hydropower plants
* MoU follows collapse of Jaiprakash-Abu Dhabi deal
* Jaiprakash to pay down debt
(Recasts, adds Reliance comment, estimated value, context)
NEW DELHI, July 28 Reliance Power Ltd
will buy Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd's entire
hydropower business, the companies said on Monday, in a deal
that would make billionaire Anil Ambani's group the largest
private hydropower provider in India.
Reliance CleanGen Ltd, which with Reliance Power is part of
Ambani's Reliance Group, has signed an exclusive memorandum of
understanding with Jaiprakash to buy three power plants.
Reliance's bid for the business follows the collapse last
week of a plan by Jaiprakash and parent Jaiprakash Associates
Ltd to sell two of the three plants for $1.6 billion
to an Abu Dhabi-led consortium.
The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal but
local media estimated the hydropower portfolio's value at around
120 billion rupees ($2 billion). The plants have a total
capacity of nearly 1,800 megawatts.
For Reliance, whose business empire includes technology,
financial services and media assets, the plants would add to
about 5,000 megawatts of hydropower capacity it is already
developing, the company said in a statement.
Jaiprakash, which like many Indian power and infrastructure
companies is trying to strengthen its balance sheet and revive
profitability, said it would use the proceeds to pay down debt.
Shares of Jaiprakash Power were 3.7 percent higher by 0535
GMT, compared with a slight decline in the benchmark index
. Shares of Reliance were up 2.5 percent.
(1 US dollar = 60.0950 Indian rupee)
(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Christopher Cushing)