May 24 (Bloomberg) -- EDP-Energias de Portugal SA, the nation’s biggest power company, said it may raise 350 million euros ($492 million) selling shares in its Brazilian unit.
The Lisbon-based company, which is selling as much as 14 percent of the business, expects to conduct the sale by the beginning of July, EDP Chief Financial Officer Nuno Alves said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
The sale of shares in the unit comes after the Portuguese utility in November cut its average annual investment target for 2011 and 2012 to 2.1 billion euros, from an earlier forecast of 2.4 billion euros a year. EDP is investing in new dams and wind turbines in Europe, Brazil and the U.S. to rely less on oil and coal while tapping government incentives for alternative energy.
“EDP will maintain control of the Brazilian business and we continue to be fully committed to the growth of the business in Brazil,” according to Alves.
The Portuguese company on May 5 said first-quarter profit rose 11 percent on higher output from wind energy projects and earnings from its Brazilian unit and regulated networks business. The unit’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization jumped 20 percent in the first quarter.
Brazil grew 7.5 percent last year, the fastest increase since the 1980s. The country’s economy will expand 4.5 percent this year, according to estimates by the Finance Ministry. EDP hired Banco Santander Brasil SA as lead coordinator and Morgan Stanley, Banco Itau BBA SA and BES Investimento do Brasil SA to manage the share sale of its Brazilian unit.
EDP on May 13 said it may sell in a public offering as much as a 14 percent stake in the unit, EDP-Energias do Brasil SA. EDP owns 64.8 percent of the unit. The company on March 3 also said it aims to raise 500 million euros in asset sales this year. EDP’s net debt decreased to 16 billion euros at the end of March, from 16.35 billion euros in December.
“We hope to go over the 500 million euros in disposals we talked about,” Alves said in the interview. EDP expects to sell minority stakes in wind farms, he said.
EDP Renovaveis SA, the company’s renewable-energy division, plans to install 0.8 gigawatts to 0.9 gigawatts of capacity a year in 2011 and 2012.
EDP in 2010 forecast total installed capacity will increase 20 percent to 24.6 gigawatts in 2012, with wind projects and hydropower plants accounting for 66 percent. A 1-megawatt plant can supply about 1,000 average European homes. The company’s installed capacity increased 7 percent to 22 gigawatts in 2010.
EDP fell 2 percent to 2.557 euros in Lisbon yesterday. The stock has climbed 2.7 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 9.35 billion euros. The Brazilian unit fell the most in more than a year, dropping 5.8 percent on May 16, when EDP announced plans to sell the stake.
Portugal, which will hold an early election on June 5, last month became the third euro-area country after Greece and Ireland to request a bailout. As part of that aid package, the government will implement additional spending cuts and will sell its stakes in companies including EDP and power grid operator REN-Redes Energeticas Nacionais SA by year-end. The Portuguese state owns 25 percent of EDP.
The majority of that holding can be sold this year, Alves said. The new government will have to decide how it’s going to carry out the sale of the rest of the state’s stake, he said.
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