Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cameroonian government and Actis make AES deal official

(Business in Cameroon) - The British investment fund Actis LLP and the Cameroonian government, represented by the Ministers of Finance and Energy, have taken-over all of AES Corporation’s assets (AES Sonel, Kpdc and Dpdc) in the electricity sector in Cameroon. According to Basile Atangana Kouna, the Cameroonian Minister of Energy, the formalisation of the partnership agreement with Actis was concluded with the signatures of both parties, including one that concerns the shareholding agreement and the guarantee of the Cameroonian government to AES-Sonel’s lenders.

The content of the agreements has not been published, but the Cameroonian government representative explained that Actis’ arrival should not worry the public. “Actis is committed to continuing the investments begun by AES in Cameroon. It is also committed to saving the jobs that will be left behind by its predecessor and also indicated that it would be giving 5% of its capital to employees. There is therefore no reason to fear the arrival of this new investor in the sector,” explained Minister Atangana Kouna.

For his part, David Grylls, who represented the investment fund indicated that Actis is taking its new responsabilities very seriously and will honour its engagements with regards to the Cameroonian government and its populations. “Our vision for Sonel is based on five major components: continuity of service, investment, operational performance, consolidation of management and staff and optimal governance,” he declared when he intervened.

Globeleq to manage KPDC and DPDC
With regards to the Dibamba and Kribi thermal plants, Actis LLP would manage them through its subsidiary, Globeleq Africa, which, according to a document distributed to the press at the May 23 ceremony,  and would share its experience with two other AES Corp subsidiaries in Cameroon, KPDC and DPDC, which produce energy for AES Sonel from the two previously mentioned thermal plants.

The deal between Actis and AES Corporation should close without difficulty as the British investment fund has already secured in 2013, through Actis Energy 3, the funds needed to meet its financial obligations towards the AES Corporation. AES announced in early November 2013 that it had reached an agreement with Actis for the sale of its shares in Cameroon’s electricity sector for a total amount of 220 million dollars (around 110 billion FCfa).  

The 1.15 billion dollars (over 500 billion FCfa) raised by Actis Energy 3 should enable the organisation to cover this amount. Nevertheless, Actis will be joining the Cameroonian electricity sector at a time when there is more and more pressure on Cameroonian people. This requires a more stable energy at more sustainable prices. Actis has not downplayed these challenges, but, in an interview with Financial News in November 2013, Mr Grylls had indicated that the greatest difficulty that Cameroon presents is a political one as is the case in most of the markets in which the fund has operations.
Idriss Linge

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