THE DEVELOPERS OF THE 450MW Capim Branco hydroelectric complex in Brazil are seeking financing of about US$170M, about half of which is being sought as a loan from Brazil’s national development bank BNDES, and the other half from debentures with BNDES buyback guarantees.

Capim Branco consists of two hydro projects: Capim I (240MW) and II (210 MW) on the Araguari river in Minas Gerais state. The turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract was won by a consortium made up of Andrade Gutierrez, Norberto Odebrecht, Queiroz Galvao, Energ Power, va-tech-hydro Brasil, voith-siemens-hydropower-generation, Leme Enghenaria, Engevix and Intertechne.

The developers of Capim Branco project include the industrial conglomerate CVRD 48.4%, utility company and power generator Cemig 21.1%, Paneiras of the Suzano group 17.9% and CMM of the Votorantim group 12.63%. Cemig – which owns its share in the consortium through the Cemig Capim Branco Emprendimentos holding company – will only pay 1.1% of the construction costs, equal to the share it took over from Camargo Correa Cimentos (CCC), one of the original partners. Cemig’s remaining share of the investment comes from engineering and licensing work completed prior to auction of the project by Aneel, Brazil’s power regulator.

Work on the project is scheduled to begin in February 2003, with the first turbine on the Capim I plant planned to begin operations within 29 months and production rising to full capacity at both plants by March 2006, one year ahead of the deadline set by Aneel. Cemig is currently involved in the construction of another six hydroelectric plants, with total installed capacity of 1570MW: Aimores (330MW), Irape (360MW), Furnil (180MW), Queimado (105MW), Pae Joaquim (23MW) and Porto Estrela (112MW). The only plant 100%-owned by Cemig is the Irape project where construction started in April 2002, and the first turbine is scheduled to begin operations in August 2005, seven months ahead of the Aneel deadline.