November 15, 2017 / 7:59 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's govt expects to send Eletrobras privatization bill to Congress soon

(Adds background, comments from Brazil’s energy minister)

NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Brazil’s government is speeding the privatization process of state-controlled power holding company Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA and expects to have all congressional approval needed in the first quarter of 2018, two senior government officials said on Wednesday.

Deputy Finance Minister Eduardo Guardia and Energy Minister Fernando Coelho said the government expects to send a bill to privatize Eletrobras, as the company is known, next week.

Coelho said the bill could be approved by Brazil’s lower house by the end of the year and win the final nod from the Senate in February or March.

Coelho said key details of the privatization process will be submitted to a shareholders meeting the government expects to schedule for June or July next year.

The Brazilian government has already decided to privatize the company through an offering of new Eletrobras shares that will dilute its stake.

Voting rights will be limited to 10 percent for individual new investors, a way of ensuring Eletrobras will have dispersed share ownership after the privatization, Guardia said. (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Christian Plumb and Bernadette Baum)

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