Light Sees Rio Power Sales Rising on Olympics

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  • Posted on February 8, 2013


    Light SA, the power distributor serving Rio de Janeiro, expects electricity sales to rise more than 3 percent this year as the company benefits from a growing middle class and investments ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.

    Preparations for the Olympics and the 2014 soccer World Cup are driving an expansion in Rio’s hotel capacity and improvements in infrastructure that include extending the subway network and renovating the city’s downtown port area. As a result, Light’s 2013 sales growth is expected to match that in 2012.

    A drive to quell the city’s crime led the state government to occupy the city’s slums, known as favelas, with police forces during the past four years. The move has resulted in more installation of basic services, including water and energy, and the expansion of retail stores into the neighborhoods.

    “It’s a magic time for Rio,” Chief Financial Officer Joao Zolini, said in an interview at Light’s headquarters in downtown Rio yesterday. “There was 40 percent of the market we used to not even consider and are now potential clients.”

    The government’s decision to lower power rates that generators sell to distributors like Light will reduce the company’s spending, he said. Rates have been by slashed as much as 32 percent since Jan. 24.

    “About 15 percent of the power we buy to distribute to clients is lost through robberies and technical problems, so its money we lose,” Zolini said. “With lower power rates, we will be paying less for that electricity we lose,” he said.

    Light’s revenue grew 5.5 percent to 1.7 billion reais ($860 million) in the third quarter, the third consecutive year-on- year increase for the period. Fourth quarter results will be announced March 8.

    To contact the reporters on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Rio de Janeiro at rorihuela@bloomberg.net; Adriana Chiarini in Rio de Janeiro at achiarini4@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net; Helder Marinho at hmarinho@bloomberg.net

    Bloomberg/AC