14 November 2012

Namibia: Walvis Bay On Board Erongo Red Again

THE Walvis Bay municipality has decided to rejoin electricity distributor Erongo Red as the majority shareholder.

Mayor Derek Klazen said Coenraad Botha, as chairman, and Tobias Nambala will represent the municipality in their private capacity on Erongo Red's board of directors.

"Walvis Bay municipality will now serve on Erongo Red's board. But this time, we will have private individuals representing our [the municipality's] interests while serving on the board," Klazen said public meeting last Wednesday.

Botha has been reinstated as chairman after being removed.

Klazen explained that although the Walvis Bay muncipality withdrew from Erongo Red two years ago, mainly because of the electricity distributor's high tarrifs and other in-house reasons, it still retained a majority share but was not acknowledged in its decision-making process. "It is for this reason that we have decided to return to Erongo Red, to serve on the board and protect our interests," Klazen said.

Erongo Red on Monday called a press conference to announce Walvis Bay's return to the boardroom as well as the departure of its longstanding chief executive officer, Gerhard Coeln. Coeln has served on the Erongo Red board for seven years.

"There was never a golden handshake or any negative relationship and, in line with new direction the board wants to take this company, the very least we can do is to acknowledge his efforts and give him a well-deserved holiday," said Botha.

Robert Kahimise will replace Coeln as acting CEO. Kahimise served as general manager before this recent appointment.

Other important announcements included Erongo Red's partnering with BKW, a power company in Switzerland, for four additional wind turbines. An amount of N$4 to N$5 million will be invested to purchase these turbines which has a combined capacity of 2,4 MW. Not only will Erongo Red invest in renewable energy, but this will also alleviate the distributor's financial burden with NamPower.

On Walvis Bay's renewed membership of Erongo Red and the road ahead, Botha said: "Let me emphasise, the board is preparing with management a proper submission for the future of Erongo RED which will be deliberated by our shareholders during our next shareholders summit in February next year."

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