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Brazil's Eletrobras reports hefty profit, boosted by privatizations

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 28 (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run electricity company Eletrobras on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter profit of 12.07 billion reais ($3.02 billion), a sharp turnaround from the year before, thanks in part to the sale of money-losing subsidiaries and the reversal of impairments.

The quarterly performance of Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, as the company is formally known, marks a strong improvement over the same period in 2017, when the firm posted a loss of 3.9 billion reais. In 2018 as a whole, the company earned 13.3 billion reais, its biggest profit in 20 years and a reversal from a 1.7 billion-real loss in 2017.

The company benefited from the reversal of impairments and "onerous contracts" related to the Angra 3 nuclear power plant project, as well as the sale of several money-losing distribution subsidiaries. It also benefited from a voluntary retirement program.

Throughout 2018, the Eletrobras privatized six distribution subsidiaries in northern and northeastern Brazil.

($1 = 3.99 reais)

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)