Chile’s CGE Posts Biggest Monthly Increase in 13 Years

Cia. General de Electricidad SA, the owner of Chile’s largest natural gas utility, had its biggest monthly gain in 13 years as first-quarter results showed the company is benefiting from lower wholesale prices negotiated last year.

CGE, controlled by the Marin, Perez Cruz and Hornauer families, has climbed 23 percent in May, the biggest monthly surge since January 2000. It was the best performance on the country’s Chile 65 stock index, which rose 3.3 percent during the period. The shares today rose 2.9 percent to 3,500 pesos at 3:34 p.m. in Santiago.

The company turned profitable after its gas utility, Metrogas SA, negotiated a 30 percent price cut last year from supplier GNL Quintero SA, according to Alfredo Parra, an analyst at brokerage Euroamerica Corredores de Bolsa SA. CGE on May 28 reported a first-quarter profit of 24.2 billion pesos ($48.4 million), compared with a loss of 2.25 billion pesos a year earlier, according to a filing.

Santiago-based CGE owns 57 percent of Gasco SA, which in turn owns 52 percent of Metrogas.

The company’s electric utilities have fixed software errors that plagued billing processes last year, Parra said in a telephone interview.

“The regulator had blocked CGE from collecting power bills from clients as long as it didn’t fix those glitches,” Parra said.

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