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Brazil's Eletrobras slashes investment plan in efficiency push

SAO PAULO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run power utility Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA will reduce its investments starting in 2018 to boost efficiency ahead of its planned privatization next year.

In a securities filing on Monday, the company, known as Eletrobras, said its board had authorized investments of 19.75 billion reais ($6 billion) for 2018 through 2022. That is down sharply from the nearly 36 billion reais estimated in its prior five-year plan, which covered 2017-2021.

Eletrobras said the investments would be in power generation, transmission and infrastructure projects, directly or through special-purpose vehicles.

The company also forecast an annual payroll reduction of 890 million reais if 3,017 employees participate in a voluntary buyout program next year.

The plan signals a push to streamline operations as Eletrobras considers selling six distribution assets by July and gears up for privatization sometime in 2018.

The government announced plans to privatize Eletrobras in August, but the move depends on a series of legislative and regulatory measures, as well as the definition of the privatization model, Eletrobras said in the filing.

Without giving details, Eletrobras said it hoped completion of the privatization process would lead to increased revenue and additional investments from new partners willing to commit fresh capital to the company.

($1 = 3.29 reais) (Reporting by Gabriela Mello and Luciano Costa; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)