North-South Power pays $61.6m to close Shiroro Hydro deal

Sir Emeka Offor and associates

Sir Emeka Offor and associates

29 August 2013, Abuja – North-South Power, the preferred bidder which won the bid for Shiroro hydro power station under the power privatisation programme, Wednesday paid $61.62 million to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, to close the deal on the acquisition on the power utility.

North-South Power was one of two bidders which did not complete its payment last Wednesday for the successor companies created from the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

The other bidder, CMAC/Eurafric, paid $120.034 million out of an outstanding balance of $150.75 million expected from the consortium for Sapele power plant.

North-South Power, BPE sources informed said, was expected to pay $101.442 million, being 75 per cent of the transaction value for Shiroro station that was to be paid on or before August 21. However, it only paid $39.822 million to the privatisation agency.

With the payment of $61.62 million yesterday, BPE officials expressed relief that the company was able to close the transaction because the privatisation bid for Shiroro station did not produce a reserve bidder, as North-South Power was the sole bidder for the plant by the time financial bids were opened.

They said if North-South Power had failed to conclude the deal on Shiroro, BPE would have been left with no choice than to restart the entire process for the sale of the hydro power plant.

Meanwhile, hopes for the third bidder, Interstate Consortium, to take the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company dimmed further Wednesday as its effort to raise funds from Africa Import–Export Bank hit the rocks.

It was gathered that the funds, expected to be raised through Kaztek Engineering, may have been stopped.

Though payments for 15 generation and distribution companies closed at 5p.m. on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, the consortium hopes to use its relationship with Vice-President, who is chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, to compel the BPE to provide an unprecedented 20-day extension.

Of all bidders for the 15 companies carved out of the PHCN which are being privatised, only Interstate could not make any payment at close of payments last week.

The bid price for Enugu Disco is $126 million, which the reserved bidder, Eastern Electric, said it was ready to pay promptly.

Interstate is promoted by  Emeka Offor, a government contractor and leading donor to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Investigations revealed that Offor’s attempt to raise capital through some of his directors like Howard Jetta, a former American Ambassador to Nigeria, also failed, with some questioning the rationale for the businessman’s donation early this year of $1.3 million to Rotary International for polio eradication.

It was also gathered that some of the Interstate consortium members from the south-eastern part of Nigeria had in the last 36 hours been making overtures to Eastern Electric, promoted by the five South-east state governments; Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi, Chairman of Nestoil and Director of Julius Berger; NRECA of the United States which controls 10 per cent of America’s 1million megawatt grid and operates in such developing nations as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sudan; Aba Power Project and Geometric Power Ltd led by former Power Minister, Prof. Bart Nnaji and Diamond Bank’s founding chairman, Pascal Dozie.

– James Emejo – This Day

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