April 6, 2017 / 5:45 PM / 3 years ago

Engie Brasil expects bids for its coal assets soon

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Engie Brasil Energia SA, the local unit of French power company Engie SA, expects to soon receive bids from several firms interested in its coal-fired power plants, Chief Executive Officer Maurício Bahr told Reuters on Thursday.

Engie Brasil announced in February it was hiring Morgan Stanley to advise it in the sale process of coal-fired power plants Jorge Lacerda and Pampa Sul, which have a combined generation capacity of 1.2 gigawatts. The sale is part of Engie’s global strategy to divest from carbon-intensive plants.

“We’ve received expressions of interest from more than 10 companies. I believe that in a couple of months we would have non-binding proposals,” Bahr said.

The executive said it would make sense to sell the plants together, since one is already operating (Jorge Lacerda) and the other still needs investment to complete the project. He did not disclose how much the company is asking for the plants.

“We will continue to expand in renewables. Wind, solar, hydropower ... biomass is also in the radar. And we are also looking at (natural) gas”, he said.

Engie Brasil is the largest private power generator in the country with 9.3 gigawatts of total capacity. It is only behind state-controlled power holding company Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA in generation capacity.

Bahr said opportunities in natural gas should arise as state-run oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SA advances in its divestment program, which includes the sale of stakes in gas pipelines systems, gas-fired power plants and regasification terminals.

The company wants as well to enter a new business area in Brazil’s power sector: power transmission.

Bahr said the firm was getting ready to take part in an auction late in April for licenses to build and operate power transmission lines.

Engie Brasil reported a net profit of 1.55 billion reais last year. It plans to invest 4.7 billion reais in Brazil by 2019.

Writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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