Consortium buys Light
An international consortium has acquired majority interest in Light, the electric distribution system of Rio de Janeiro, in a recent privatization by the Brazilian government. The consortium, including Houston Industries Energy Inc. (HI Energy), Electricité de France, AES Corp., CSN Brazilian industrial group and BNDES Brazilian financial institution, bid (US)$2 billion for 50 percent plus one share of Light. The government retains the remaining interest. The acquisition will be financed with a combination of debt and equity.
Acquisition of the Light system represents the largest single privatization to date anywhere in the world. Light serves the city of Rio de Janeiro and 27 other municipalities in one of Brazil`s main economic centers. Total customers exceed 2.7 million, with an area population of around 9 million. Light sells more than 20,000 GWh of electricity annually and a peak demand of approximately 4,000 MW. Light has 776 MW of hydroelectric generation and purchases the remainder of its electricity on the Brazilian wholesale market.
“Brazil`s economy, population and potential growth is comparable to the rest of Latin America combined,” said Don D. Jordan, HI Energy chairman and CEO. “Light is a profitable company presently, and we believe we can implement operational improvements and enhance its profitability.”