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UPDATE 1-Eneva, ex-MPX, starts operating Brazil gas-fired power plant

Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 | 6:16 PM ET

(Adds detail about Eneva shareholders, Batista stake reduction, share price)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Eneva SA, the Brazilian electricity-generation company controlled by Germany's E.ON, began commercial operations at its third natural gas-fired power plant in Brazil's northeast, the company said on Wednesday in a statement.

The Parnaiba III plant, which adds a new source of revenue to the company founded by Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista, can produce 169 megawatts of electricity.

The plant boosts Eneva's generation capacity in the Parnaiba region of Maranhão state to 845 megawatts. Its gas consumption will rise to 5.5 million cubic meters a day.

Batista ceded control and his chairmanship of Eneva, formerly known as MPX Energia SA, to E.ON earlier this year after a collapse in the share prices of companies in his EBX energy, oil, mining, port and shipbuilding group. The sellof triggered a breakup of EBX and left the former billionaire without new sources of cash for investment.

E.ON is the lead shareholder in Eneva with 38 percent. Batista has 27 percent. Despite Batista's stake and a public shareholder agreement that says he has a say in operations, Eneva "is fully controlled by E.ON," a source with direct knowledge of Eneva and EBX's arrangements told Reuters in July.

Reducing or eliminating Batista's control over and association with his troubled companies has been a key plank in negotiations to restructure his companies. Many past, current and future investors consider him directly responsible for the EBX Group's spectacular rise and fall.

Batista-controlled OGX Petróleo e Gás Participações SA receives the bulk of the revenue from Eneva's gas purchases.

(Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andrew Hay)