Copel Extends Slump After Suspending Rate Increase Amid Protests

Cia. Paranaense de Energia, the Brazilian utility known as Copel, extended a decline to the lowest in four years after suspending an electricity rate increase as protests against the cost and poor quality of public services spread across the nation.

The shares sank 5 percent to 24.90 reais at 12:00 p.m. in Sao Paulo after touching 24.60 reais, the lowest intraday level since April 2009. The drop follows a 17 percent slump in the past session and compares with a 2.8 percent drop in the benchmark Ibovespa today.

The suspension comes after a march against bus fares in Sao Paulo triggered a slew of protests demanding better use of public money this month across Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy. The Curitiba, Brazil-based utility, which is controlled by the southern Parana state, said it requested the government’s power regulator suspend the rate increase in a filing today.

Copel is seeking to “identify the best means of applying the deferral to protect the company’s financial health,” according to the statement.

Copel was authorized to raise consumer electricity rates by 13.4 percent and rates to industrial consumers by 14.9 percent, power regulator Aneel said June 20.

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