This Day (Lagos)

23 July 2012

Nigeria: Transcorp, Julius Berger, Marubeni, Others Bid for Power Generation Companies

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Sunday released a breakdown of the 25 bidders that met the July 17, 2012 deadline for submission of technical and financial proposals for the privatisation of the power generation companies.

THISDAY gathered that Transcorp, Julius Berger Nigeria (through Julius Berger Investments) - the investment arm of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Marubeni were among prospective investors interested in the power assets.

Meanwhile, as Manitoba Electrical today assumes management control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, said workers of the company should not expect severance pay because it is not among the power assets put up for privatisation.

Transcorp led the Transcorp/Woodrock/Symbion, consortium of local and international technical partners with strong experience in power generation in Nigeria, other developing countries in Africa and the Middle East and developed markets in the US to bid for the 972 mw capacity Ughelli power plant.

Head, Public Communications at the bureau, Mr. Chukwuma Nwoko said in a statement on Sunday that Ughelli Power Plc had the most bidders, with nine potential investors meeting the deadline.

The bidders are Transcorp & Woodrock/Symbion Power/Medea/PSL/Thomasen; Feniks Electricity; NPG Consortium; Delta Utility Company Ltd; and Botad/GE/13M Power Consortium. Others are Danglobe Consortium; Amperion Power Distribution Company; Ethiope Energy and Taleveras Group.

Nwokoh said Shiroro hydro power had the least number of bidders with only one potential investor, while Kainji hydro power Plc had two bidders. Geregu thermal power plant and Afam Power, had four and three bidders respectively.

The bidders for Geregu Power Plc are Knox J & L Energy Solutions Ltd; Plainfield Universal Technologies; TES Power Ltd; and Amperion Power Distribution Company Ltd.

For Afam Power Plc, the bidders are Primeniza Energy Ltd; Skipper Nigeria Ltd; and NPG Consortium. The two bidders for Kainji Power Plc are Marubeni Corporation and Mainstream Energy Solutions Ltd, while North-South Power Co. Ltd was the sole bidder for Shiroro Power Plc.

Sapele Power Plc, had six bidders-JBN/Nestoil Power Services Ltd; Foby Energy; Proton Energy Consortium; Ogorode Power Ltd; CMEC/Eurafric Energy Ltd and Dateline Power are the bidders.

The BPE had given potential investors till July 17 to submit their technical and financial proposals, as well as a $2 million bid bond from each of the bidders, for the power assets.

Dangote Power, owned by business mogul, Aliko Dangote, and Western Metal Products Company Limited (WEMPCO Group), a metal manufacturing company with interests in the energy sector, were among companies that failed to meet the deadline.

The BPE reaffirmed that the deadline for harvest of bidders' technical and financial proposals for the distribution companies is July 31, 2012, while evaluation of the technical bids will take place between August 14 and 28, 2012. The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) will approve the results of the technical evaluation on/or before September 11, 2012.

Also, deadline for the shortlisted bidders for generation companies to submit their letters of credit is September 18, 2012, while that of distribution companies is October 2, 2012 .

Manitoba, a Canadian firm won the bid to manage the TCN, through a bidding process conducted by the BPE. Under the term of the contract, Manitoba is to come with about eight expatriate managers to run the transmission company for a period of three years in the first instance.

But the new management control was last week resisted by members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) who barricaded the PHCN corporate headquarters in Abuja, ostensibly to prevent the new managers from assuming duties. The workers had threatened to continue the action until their severance and other PHCN negotiated benefits have been paid.

Reacting to the Thursday protests, Nnaji explained that the government is negotiating with representatives of the labour unions only in respect of severance and other benefits for staff of 17 unbundled PHCN generation and distribution companies that are being privatized, which does not include the TCN. The minister said rather than privatise TCN, which would require sorting out labour issues, government has approved the employment of an additional 1000 engineers and technicians to plug the shortfall in manpower needed to run the power transmission backbone. He said there was no need for such protests as the "remains a government holding company, which has never been put up and shall not be put up for privatisation."

Despite the protests, Manitoba will today assume management control of the TCN, one of the 18 unbundled companies of the PHCN in accordance with the contract terms. The TCN manages the nation's key power transmission backbone, otherwise called the National Grid.

A statement by the Power Minister's Special Assistant on Media, Ogbuagu Anikwe explained that the TCN is the only company unbundled from the PHCN that would not be privatised.

He clarified: "Of the 18 companies that resulted from unbundling of the PHCN, only the TCN will not be privatised. Rather, its management has been contracted to the Canadian company after emerging victorious from a competitive bid organised by the BPE".

He further explained that Manitoba is coming with about eight expatriate managers to run the transmission company for a period of three (3) years in the first instance.

The BPE had stated that the new managers of TCN will understudy the expatriate managers, acting as their shadows. The Nigerian CEO and Executive Directors will still function as the number two person in their current positions, to understudy the new managers.

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