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E.CL Falls to Five-Month Low After Suspending Plants

E.CL SA, northern Chile’s largest power generator, fell to a five-month low after the company said last week it suspended operations at two power plants to repair cooling-systems leaks.

E.CL retreated 0.4 percent to 1,094.5 pesos at the close of trading in Santiago, the lowest price since Aug. 1. Volume was almost three times the average of the last three months. The benchmark Ipsa index rose 0.4 percent.

The generator, based in Santiago, said in a Jan. 8 filing that it suspended operations at its Central Termoelectrica Andina and Central Termoelectrica Hornitos plants to fix the leaks. E.CL didn’t say when it will complete the repairs.

“If it’s a long suspension, then it will affect profit margins negatively,” Marcelo Catalan, an analyst at Banco de Credito e Inversiones, said in a telephone interview. E.CL will need to buy more expensive power in the open market to fulfill its contract obligations, Catalan said.

When market prices are high, a suspension of more than a month may cut earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization by as much as 9.5 percent to about $282 million for 2013, Catalan estimated.

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