Future Energy Central Africa

Private equity investor, Actis Capital LLP is to take a 56% stake in Cameroon’s national utility Société Nationale d’Electricité (Sonel) as well as significant interests in two independent power plants, Kribi and Dibamba. This follows it signing an agreement with American energy group, AES, to acquire its stake in three power assets in Cameroon for US$220 million.

Actis will directly manage Sonel, which provides 933 MW to over 800,000 customers throughout the country, while the Kribi and Dibamba assets, with a combined 300 MW capacity, will be overseen by Globeleq, the company’s wholly owned power subsidiary.

The transaction is pending government and lender approval. Actis Energy Head Torbjorn Caesar says, “Our experience managing major electricity assets in Uganda and Guatemala means Actis comes to the investment with the confidence that we can deliver strong infrastructure and excellent customer service. We have deployed over US$1 billion in the energy space in the last decade; this latest investment is a natural next step for us in Africa.”

In another development in Cameroon, the country has signed an agreement with Electricité de France, EDF, the International Finance Cooperation, and Rio Tinto Alcan to build a project to provide up to 420 MW on the Natchtigal River. The installed capacity of the project as it stands would be 360 MW with the possibility of extension to 420 MW. The guaranteed capacity is estimated at 270 MW with possibility of extension to 330 MW. Participation in the project is broken down into 40% for EDF, 34% for the International Finance Cooperation and 26% for the Cameroon state. According to the terms of the agreement, construction will begin six months after the signing of the contract.