The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo may sell the assets of its electric utility Cesp Parana, without including the 1800MW Sergio Motta hydro power plant in the sale. The privatisation is scheduled for the first quarter of 2000.

Cesp Parana’s overall production capacity totals 7500MW. The company has dams along the giant Parana river on the state’s north-western frontier.

Government officials speculate that Cesp Parana will be privatised at a starting price of between R$2B (US$1B) and R$3B (US$1.5B). Interested parties in CESP Parana include Sweden’s Vattenfal and Eletricidade de Portugal.

Governor Mario Covas opposes the idea of splitting CESP Parana into two separate concessions because he is worried it may be difficult for a single buyer to afford both the minimum bid price and pay off a debt of over US$3.5B.

Three other hydro plants on the Parana river will be included in the privatisation. Ilha Solteira (3200MW), Jupia (1400MW) and Tres Irmaos (300MW) depend on each other for their operation.