9 December 2017

Ethiopia: Multinationals Bid for Security Printing Partnership

About 17 international companies expressed interest for partnership with Berhanena Selam

Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise (BSPE) begins reviewing the documents of 17 multinationals interested to start printing security items such as cheques, passports and identity cards, in partnership with the Enterprise.

Last Thursday, as the first move to realise the joint venture, the Enterprise opened the tender, announced two months ago, in front of at least half of the participants, at its premises.

Just before two months, the Enterprise disclosed its plan to erect an advanced security printing building with an investment of 200 million Br. The tender was floated consequently.

Amongst the bidders, six of the companies hail from Europe, whereas two Indian and Kenyan firms showed an interest to partner with the Enterprise. The remaining bidders are based in South Africa, Bahrain, Lebanon and Switzerland.

The massive capital required to begin security printing pushed the century-old Enterprise, which is also the only company allowed to partner with foreign investors, for a joint venture, according to the announcement made by the Enterprise.

Criteria such as capital, technological efficiency and market opportunities will be used while selecting partners. The bidders are also obliged to express the type of joint venture, business proposal and their contribution in forming the merger.

"Considering such points, we will shortlist between three and five bidders," said Daniel Haile, Public Relations and Communications director at the Enterprise.

Subsequently, the companies will submit their project proposals based on the Enterprise's terms of reference (ToR) and present their offers. "We will then select the winner," Daniel added.

Additionally, the giant Printer has also awarded KBA Group- a global high-security printing solution and systems provider for a century- to supply a set of security printing machines costing 15.5 million Br.

For the tender which was floated on September 6, 2017, and attracted the attention of over a dozen international suppliers, KBA participated through its local agent Mosbez Plc.

The machines will be used to print passports, identity cards (ID), and cards for smart electric metres, scratch cards for lotteries and talk-time as well as cash payment orders (CPO).

The newly constructed building of the Enterprise located in front of its old premises will house the new machines.

This is not the first time that the Enterprise has stepped forward to buy a security printer.

Three years ago, based on a study carried out by Cross Group, a UK security printing consultancy firm, its tender floated to procure security printing machines was cancelled due to the restructuring of the then Privatisation & Public Enterprises to Ministry of Public Enterprises- which regulates state-owned companies including Berhanena Selam.

Furthermore, the latest attempt of the Enterprise to form a joint venture has not been without controversies.

"Unless external consultants are hired, I doubt its capacity to review the offers given by the multinationals," remarked one of the bidders, during the opening of the tender.

But, the Enterprise has formed a technical and a consulting committee headed by Getahun Negash, deputy CEO for Corporate Business Development.

Berhanena Selam, whose capital recently shot up by four folds to 1.5 billion Br, planned to fully begin security printing before the conclusion of the first quarter of the coming year.

Founded almost a century ago, the Enterprise registered a gross profit of 155 million Br in the past fiscal year, showing a nine million Br rise compared to 2015/16.

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