January 22, 2014 / 5:30 PM / in 4 years

Former Goldman banker Bicudo to head Brazil's Eneva -source

SAO PAULO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Brazilian energy producer Eneva SA has named former Goldman Sachs Group Inc dealmaker Fabio Bicudo as chief executive officer, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday.

Bicudo left Goldman Sachs this week after a four-year stint, his second at the firm, the bank said. Last March, he became co-chief of Goldman’s investment banking unit in Brazil as part of a shake-up that followed a capital injection and a shift toward higher-margin client products.

Eneva declined to comment. Efforts to reach Bicudo on his mobile phone for comment were unsuccessful.

Eneva, formerly known as MPX Energia SA, is jointly controlled by E.ON SE, Germany’s largest utility, and Brazilian investor Eike Batista. Goldman Sachs was the main adviser for E.ON on its investment in MPX, which the German company renamed Eneva after building a 37.9 percent stake through a series of stock purchases from Batista.

E.ON turned to Brazil for growth following the implementation of tougher environmental rules at home and the impact of Europe’s economic crisis over the past five years. But its bet on MPX and subsequently Eneva has proven costly: Shares of the Rio de Janeiro-based company are down about 74 percent since E.ON first bought a stake in January 2012.

Eneva is facing sluggish economic growth in Brazil and potential caps on energy rates as the government battles persistently high inflation. After a decade-long boom, flagging investment and eroding business and consumer confidence led Brazil’s economy to shrink in the third quarter, its first contraction since early 2009.

Analysts expect Eneva to post a net loss of 666 million reais ($282 million) for 2013, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The company operates 2,400 megawatts of installed capacity, with a further 524 MW under construction.

Shares of Eneva rose 1.5 percent to 3.33 reais on Wednesday afternoon. The stock is up 11 percent this year.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to say when Bicudo starts at Eneva. Currently, Eduardo Karrer is both CEO and head of investor relations at the company.

Bicudo’s departure from Goldman comes after a flurry of top executives left the Brazilian unit in the past year in the wake of waning financial advisory activity. Some of those executives include investment banker Rodrigo Mello and Adriano Koelle, from the wealth management division, the source added.

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