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China's power investment group seeks new Brazil targets after $2 billion deal

By Luciano Costa

SAO PAULO, May 16 (Reuters) - China's State Power Investment Corp is looking for new Brazilian acquisition targets, even after spending 7.2 billion reais ($2 billion) for a license to operate a hydroelectric plant in the country last September, a senior executive told Reuters.

"Brazil is one of the top regional priorities for the group's expansion," said Adriana Waltrick, the country head for SPIC, as the Chinese company is known.

SPIC, which operates in 41 countries and owns 120 gigawatts in capacity, aims to expand its capacity by 30 gigawatts worldwide through 2020. In Brazil, the Chinese group controls 2 gigawatts, including a hydroelectric plant in the center-western region of Brazil as well as two windfarms in the northeast.

SPIC may acquire companies or bid for licenses to build new capacity, Waltrick said in an interview on Tuesday.

The company already plans to build around 280 megawatts in new windfarms, although that will depend on its ability to win competitive tenders in which Brazil's government offers generators power purchase agreements with distribution companies. The next power auction is scheduled for August.

Waltrick declined to comment on a potential bid for the Santo Antonio hydroelectric dam, in the northern state of Rondonia, which has been put up for sale by its owners, Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais, known as Cemig, and Odebrecht SA.

SPIC's largest Brazilian investment has been the acquisition of the 1.7-gigawatt Sao Simao hydroelectric plant for $2 billion. The Chinese group took over the plant management last week, after six months of operation supervised by its former owner, Cemig.

Waltrick said the company was considering potential investments to upgrade the hydroelectric plant, built in 1978, but did not elaborate on how much would be spent or potential suppliers. ($1 = 3.6529 reais) (Reporting by Luciano Costa; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Peter Cooney)