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UPDATE 1-Shares in Cielo soar after Brazil greenlights WhatsApp payments

(Updates with shares, context)

SAO PAULO, March 31 (Reuters) - Shares in payment processing company Cielo SA soared on Wednesday after Brazil's central bank allowed Facebook Inc to process payments through the WhatsApp messaging service.

Cielo has a partnership to process WhatsApp payments in Brazil, although Facebook said it plans to add new card acquirers to its fund transfers service.

Shares in Cielo were up roughly 5% in the morning trade, the second biggest gainer on the benchmark Bovespa equities index .

Brazil's central bank on Tuesday cleared the way for WhatsApp to let its users send money using Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc, but it is still pending authorization to offer payments to merchants.

Facebook had launched payments through WhatsApp in June, but the central bank suspended them, alleging potential risks in areas such as competition, efficiency and data privacy.

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)