Centrais Eletricas do Para SA’s controlling shareholder Rede Energia SA accepted a buyout bid for the bankrupt utility from private-equity fund Vinci Partners Investimentos Ltda., said two people familiar with the deal.
Vinci’s Equatorial Energia SA energy fund plans to merge Belem, Brazil-based Celpa, as the company is known, with Cia. Energetica do Maranhao, known as Cemar, a Brazilian utility based in Sao Luis, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
Any acquisition proposal would need approval from other Celpa shareholders, creditors and bondholders, Rede Energia said yesterday in a regulatory filing. Rede Energia said it will give Vinci’s fund the right of first refusal for a period of negotiations. Officials at Vinci Partners, Celpa, Rede Energia and Cemar declined to comment.
Creditors of Celpa’s 2.3 billion reais ($1.1 billion) of debt include Societe Generale SA, Banco do Brasil SA, Bank of America Corp., Banco Bradesco SA and Itau Unibanco Holding SA, according to Celpa regulatory filings.
Vinci Partners, founded by Gilberto Sayao and other former Banco BTG Pactual SA executives, owns 65 percent of Cemar through the Equatorial fund, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Celpa, which distributes electricity to 7.4 million people in 143 municipalities in northern Brazil, filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 28 amid growing debt and more than four years without a rate increase. Brazil’s government isn’t planning to take control of Celpa and would step in only if needed to ensure power distribution, Energy Minister Edison Lobao said March 13.
Rede Energia holds about 65 percent of Celpa, and the state-controlled Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, known as Eletrobras, owns about 35 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Eletrobras also owns a Cemar stake of about 33.5 percent.
Defaulted bonds sold by Celpa traded yesterday at 25.5 cents on the dollar in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.