January 23, 2019 / 11:39 AM / a year ago

Sao Paulo state plans to privatize sanitation firm in 2019 - Meirelles

SAO PAULO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Brazil´s state of Sao Paulo plans to privatize its sanitation company this year, state finance secretary Henrique Meirelles said in an interview published by the Valor Economico newspaper on Wednesday.

Meirelles said the state wanted to auction off Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, known as Sabesp , though congress still had to approve new regulations allowing the sale.

Meirelles said that if the sanitation regulation bill is not approved during the first half of 2019, the state will take the alternative measure of selling up to 4 billion reais ($1 billion) in new shares.

Press representatives at the Sao Paulo state finance office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sabesp shares have risen 31 percent this year on hopes that the company will be privatized. ($1 = 3.7894 reais) (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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