July 12, 2017 / 8:02 PM / 3 months ago

Canada's Brookfield in talks to buy J&F power lines, sources say

SAO PAULO, July 12 (Reuters) - Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management has signed an exclusivity agreement to acquire power transmission lines owned by Brazil’s J&F Investimentos SA, which is selling off assets to pay a record corruption-related fine, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

According to one of the people, Brookfield is offering up to 1 billion reais ($311 million) for the majority stake that J&F’s electricity unit Ambar Energia Ltda has in an 880 kilometer-long (547 miles) grid of transmission lines.

Revenue from the lines, which have 30-year contracts, renders Ambar Energia annual revenue of about 90 million reais, according to data from electricity industry watchdog Aneel.

Brookfield was not immediately available to comment while J&F declined to comment.

J&F is accelerating the pace of talks to sell assets as creditors pressure leading shareholders Joesley and Wesley Batista to renegotiate more than 30 billion reais their companies - including JBS SA - amassed in recent years. JBS is the world’s No. 2 food processing company.

Both siblings signed in May plea and leniency deals related to their involvement in a massive corruption scandal in Brazil. Prosecutors imposed a world-setting record 10.3 billion-real fine on J&F and the brothers, who admitted to bribing 1,900 politicians to win businesses in recent years.

$1 = 3.2101 reais Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Diane Craft

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