The loan is for Euro380M (US$595M) and the term of the debt is 24 years.

Total investment by the JV in the 1,087MW project is expected to be approximately Euro1,200M (US$1,875M). The BNDES loan covers almost a third of the cost.

Just over a year ago, BNDES agreed a loan of US$257M to finance about two-thirds of the costs of the Sao Salvador scheme, also being built by Suez on the river Tocantins, on the border between Tocantins and Maranhao states. The previous figure for installed capacity of the plant was given as 241MW and the most recent is 243MW.

Estreito is the biggest hydropower project presently being built in Brazil. Suez won the concession for the scheme in 2002 and in late 2007 sold its stake of 256MW guaranteed energy output as a power purchase agreement (PPA) at auction. The PPA is worth Euro3.30B (US$5.15B) and has a 30-year term running from 2012.

Suez has a 40.7% stake in the JV. Its partners are Vale (30%), Alcoa (25.49%) and Camargo Correa (4.4%).

While Estreito is the biggest hydro scheme underway in Brazil, late last year the Government awarded the first project – the 3,150MW Santo Antonio plant – of the two-part Madeira scheme in west Brazil to another JV, Consorcio Madeira Energetica.

The JV is comprised of Norberto Odebrecht, Andrade Gutierrez, Furnas, Cemig and the Santander and Banif banks.