Brascan Ltd

Brascan, Ltd, formerly Brazilian Traction Light and Power Co, Ltd, is a major natural-resources company with substantial consumer product interests and extensive holdings in the financial services of the Canadian, American and Brazilian economies.

Brascan, Ltd

Brascan, Ltd, formerly Brazilian Traction Light and Power Co, Ltd, is a major natural-resources company with substantial consumer product interests and extensive holdings in the financial services of the Canadian, American and Brazilian economies. In 1899 William Mackenzie and others took over an old mule-drawn tramway in São Paulo and reorganized it as the São Paulo Tramway, Light and Power. In 1904, the same promoters created the Rio de Janeiro Tramway, Light and Power Co. Ownership of these two companies was assumed in 1912 by the newly created Brazilian Traction, Light and Power Co., a holding company known to Brazilians as "the Light."

Chief among the company's management was Alexander Mackenzie (no relation to William), who devoted his whole career to the Brazil company. It furnished Brazil's industrial southeast with electric-power, tramway, telephone and gas services until late 1978, when these assets were sold to the Brazilian government. Its early ownership was primarily in European and American hands. By 1954 it was 51% Canadian owned; by 1975, 54%.

The company is currently called EdperBrascan and it holds major stakes in Noranda Inc., Falconbridge Ltd., Nexfor Inc., Brookfield Properties, Great Lakes Power Inc, Canadian Hunter Explorations Ltd, Trilon Financial Corp and Brascan Brazil Ltd (100%). In 1998 EdperBrascan was the tenth largest employer in Canada with 53 000 employees. It had a revenue of $1.4 billion and assets of $10.9 billion.


Further Reading

  • P. Best and A. Shortell, The Brass Ring: Power, Influence and the Brascan Empire (1988).