1 February 2014

Nigeria: GE, Standard Bank Seal N56 Billion Financing Pact for Nigeria, Others

Photo: GE
Amb Abdulkadir A. Musa, Permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade and Investment (3rd from right) with GE team after signing the funding agreement with the five local banks

General Electric and Standard Bank have sealed a $350 million (N56 billion) financing agreement aimed at increasing access to power infrastructure.

The deal is coming just as Transcorp Ughelli Power Limited, TUPL, the power subsidiary of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, Transcorp, announced the signing of a capacity expansion agreement to raise the power supply capacity of the plant by1,000 mega watts, MW, over the next three to five years.

The Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Sola David-Borha, said the partnership would provide affordable access to power infrastructure to augment traditional large-scale grid capacity development.

Ms. David-Borha said the partnership would target 10 priority countries: Nigeria, Angola, Tanzania, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

The financing activity would centre on four key areas, including project finance, equipment finance, trade finance and advisory services.

Prospective beneficiaries include independent power producers, IPPs, and non-recourse infrastructure projects, industrial manufacturers, natural resource companies, food and agricultural processors, small to medium enterprises, SMEs, and other potential borrowers.

The President/CEO, GE Africa, Jay Ireland, said the partnership deal was timely, particularly when there were concerted efforts by different governments to boost access to energy across the continent.

He said partnerships of this nature would support efforts by respective governments in finding captive power solutions to meet the growing demand for alternative fuels.

Mr. Ireland said the partnership between GE and Standard Bank was in line with the country-to-company agreements, which GE signed with a number of African governments aimed at raising the power generation capacity of the continent and also increase access.

Standard Bank, which operates in Nigeria as Stanbic IBTC Holdings, said it was committed to partnerships of this nature to help energize the power sector.

Ms. David-Borha said the power challenges identified in the selected countries for the partnership focus were opportunities for growth through sustainable investment. She said through the partnership, financing would also be available for off-grid solutions that rely on cleaner fuels such as biomass and biogas across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a member of The Standard Bank Group, is a full service financial services group focused on three main business pillars - Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking, and Wealth Management.

Meanwhile, GE and TUPL said they also signed a separate agreement to rehabilitate the damaged GT 15 turbine at the Ughelli plant to add about 115MW to the plant's output.

Currently, the Transcorp Ughelli power plant generates 360MW of electricity, up from 160MW on November 1, 2013 when Transcorp took ownership of the plant.

With the additional 115MW, along with other rehabilitation works planned at the plant, output at Ughelli plant is expected to increase to about 700MW by December 2014.

The Ughelli power plant, reputed to be Nigeria's largest gas-fired electricity generation facility, was acquired by Transcorp under the 2013 power privatization programme.

Chairman of Transcorp and Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, said the $300 million plant was part of the $2.5 billion investment pledge to deliver affordable, accessible power to Africa under the Power Africa Initiative.

The agreements signed between Mr. Elumelu and the Global Chairman, GE, Jeffrey Immelt, follows a cooperation agreement executed by both parties in 2013.

Mr. Elumelu expressed TUPL' delight to work with GE, and acknowledged the company as a proven world leader in power technology development. He said both parties have taken a bold step in fulfilling the promise to Transcorp's stakeholders and the people of Nigeria to realise the objectives on the Ughelli plant expansion project.

He said within a short period of taking over the plant, the company has achieved significant impact, as power production has more than doubled.

Mr. Elumelu said he was confident that there would be increased output before the end of 2014.

The president of GE said the company appreciates the confidence imposed on it by Transcorp.

"This partnership with Transcorp underlines GE's deep commitment to developing the Nigerian power sector," Mr. Immerlt said.

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