Power Grid bidding on Nigerian, Kenyan contracts

GURGAON, INDIA - Power Grid Corp. of India, the nation’s largest electricity transmission company, is bidding for contracts in African nations including Nigeria and Kenya to expand its business, the chairman said.

“We are trying to spread our wings in other continents,” chairman S.K.

Chaturvedi said in an interview at his office in Gurgaon near New Delhi. “The domestic market is all regulated so we are seeking other corners of the world where we can increase our revenue.”

Kenya plans to more than double the number of people who have access to the national grid and Nigeria in August approved the construction of a $3.5 billion electricity grid. Power Grid, which carries 51 percent of the electricity generated across India, is seeking overseas contracts as local rivals target expanded operations, according to the company’s secondary share sale document of October 21.

State-owned Power Grid will be considered for projects under a $61 million line of credit offered by India to improve Kenya’s grid system as part of an agreement to train Kenya Electric Transmission’s engineers, Chaturvedi said. The grid operator was named the lowest bidder for a $400 million contract to manage Nigeria’s electricity grid, he said.

Ireland’s ESB International, Manitoba Hydro Electric Board of Canada and Power Grid were shortlisted in 2007 before the government suspended plans to sell the state power monopoly. Nigeria sought fresh bids in September.

“We are waiting for elections in Nigeria to be completed and are expecting to receive at least a portion of the $400 million contract thereafter,” Chaturvedi said.

Power Grid is also expanding networks in Dubai, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and completed an Indian government-funded 200- kilometer 124-mile transmission project in Afghanistan in May 2009, he said.

The company is in talks with the Afghanistan government to build a second project, which will also be funded by India, he said.

Power Grid plans to spend 133 billion rupees US $3 billion in the five years to 2017 to expand and will raise 70 percent of the requirement through debt, Chaturvedi said. The operator is in talks with the World Bank for $1 billion dollars in loans and will issue rupee bonds of as much as 8 billion rupees by May 10, he said.

The company and the government together raised the maximum 74.4 billion rupees in a secondary issue in November.



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