Brazil names pro-privatization Moreira as new mines and energy minister

FILE PHOTO - Brazil's President Michel Temer speaks with Minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of Brazil, Wellington Moreira Franco during a ceremony to sanction flexible broadcast schedule of the Voice of Brazil radio program, in Brasilia, Brazil April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's President Michel Temer named Wellington Moreira Franco to take over the Mines and Energy Ministry, a key portfolio that includes overseeing the proposed privatization of Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (Eletrobras) ELET6.SA.

Moreira Franco’s appointment, announced by the president’s office in a statement on Sunday, follows the resignation of Deputy Mines and Energy Minister Paulo Pedrosa, who had been seen as the likely replacement for outgoing chief Fernando Coelho Filho after he left to run for Congress.

Pedrosa had been vital in leading efforts to privatize Eletrobras, and the news on Friday that he was quitting wiped roughly $1 billion off the market capitalization of the state utility. The ministry did not give a reason for Pedrosa leaving.

Moreira Franco was previously the Secretary of the Presidency, a minister-level position. He served as Temer’s infrastructure investment czar, which included oversight of concessions and privatizations.

His appointment ends the battles of two senators and former energy ministers, who had proposed candidates to the role in an effort to scuttle the privatization.

Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello and Jake Spring, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien