Duke to Sell Brazil at $1.2B; 3 Gorges as the Buyers

By Czarina Ara Lasco

Oct 11, 2016 06:00 AM EDT

Duke Energy Corp. announced that the company will be selling its Brazilian assets worth $1.2 Billion to Three Gorges Corp. of China.

The Charlotte, North Carolina based company will put the profit from the deal to reduce the company's debt. Duke is also arranging to sell its remaining holdings in Central and South America. Last year, they agreed to acquire Piedmont Natural Gas Co. for $ 4.9 billion.

By selling the company's Latin American power assets, they can limit their exposure to economic weaknesses and currency fluctuations of the region. U.S. based energy companies including Duke are shifting away from coal-fired generation to focus on cleaner natural gas and renewable energy enforcing stable growth through regulated businesses amid low electricity prices.

"This is a deal that's in line with Duke's strategy, and it will be well accepted by their investors," Kit Konolige, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst in New York, said by phone Monday. "Utility investors generally don't want non-core businesses that involve currency risk."

Acquiring Piedmont and using its pipeline system, will accelerate the company's transfer from coal to gas, eventually eliminating coal entirely.

The Brazil deal "is another important step forward in driving our strategy to focus on our core domestic regulated business, and it builds on our recent acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas," Duke Chief Executive Officer Lynn Good said in the statement.

The Latin American assets include eight hydroelectric plants with a total of 2,057 megawatts of capacity on the border of Sao Paulo and Parana states, and two hydroelectric plants with a capacity of 16.5 megawatts each in northern Sao Paulo state.

Duke Energy, Corporation is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States, supplying and delivering electricity to approximately 7.4 million U.S. customers. It has approximately 52,700 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Carolinas, the Midwest and Florida - and natural gas distribution services serving more than 1.5 million customers in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Car 

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