SANTIAGO -(Dow Jones)- Chilean state copper company Corporacion Nacional del Cobre sold its 40% stake in local power generator E-CL SA (ECL.SN) for $1.04 billion, the company said Friday.
Codelco, as the company is known, sold 424.25 million shares of E-CL at 1,200 Chilean pesos ($2.47) each before trading began on Friday.
The funds will be used to partially finance the company's aggressive $3.2-billion capital expenditure plan for 2011.
The sale price "was within the range we expected...We don't foresee any other [asset] sales. E-CL was by and large the biggest asset we owned which wasn't vital to us," Codelco Chief Financial Officer Thomas Keller told reporters on the sidelines of the Santiago Stock Exchange.
Codelco will finance about half of the $3.2 billion investment budget for this year through amortization and depreciation.
The world's largest company hasn't ruled out tapping international markets this year or seeking authorization from the Finance Ministry to retain some of its 2010 profits to complete the financing.
"It's possible that by the end of the year we may seek debt, but that depends on market conditions," Keller added.
The company will release its 2010 earnings report in February.
As to the buyers of the E-CL stake, Chile's private pension fund managers, the nation's largest institutional investors, bought 33.8% of shares Codelco sold, while other local institutional investors purchased 17.9%.
Additionally, foreign institutional investors bought 26.5% of the stake, retail investors purchased 12.9% and other non-institutional large investors bought 8.7%.
In recent trading, once the sale was completed, E-CL shares were down 4.8% at CLP1,205.00, while the Ipsa blue-chip index was falling 0.5%.
In the past 52 weeks, E-CL has traded at a high of CLP1,329.40 and a low of CLP900.00.
French-Belgian electric company GDF Suez SA (GSZ.FR) holds a 53% controlling stake in E-CL. The power company is the largest generator in terms of installed capacity on Chile's northern SING energy grid, which supplies a large part of the country's mining industry.
Chile is the world's largest copper producer, accounting for a third of global output.
-Anthony Esposito contributed to this article.
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