American Capital Energy & Infrastructure (ACEI) has announced that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, has approved up to US$50 million in direct financing to support construction and operation of the Azura-Edo power plant project near Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria.
The Azura-Edo power project is a 459 MW open cycle gas turbine power station that started construction in 2014 and represents the first phase of a potential 1,000MW power plant facility. The total project investment is estimated at US$750 million.
ACEI’s affiliate has committed to invest up to US$130 million in Azura Power Holdings Ltd., the company responsible for developing the Azura-Edo power project, to fund both the first and second phases of the Azura-Edo power project as well as future acquisitions and greenfield projects in Nigeria.
Other investors in Azura Power Holdings Ltd include Amaya Capital, Aldwych International, African Infrastructure Investment Managers and ARM of Nigeria.
The US$750 million transaction involves US$220 million of equity and US$530 million of debt. Lenders for the Azura-Edo plant include Standard Chartered Bank (SBK), the lead fundraiser, Rand Merchant Bank, First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) and FMO, the Dutch development finance company.
The Azura-Edo power project is the first new project-financed independent power producer in Nigeria in over a decade.
Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO, stated:
OPIC’s participation in this project is a prime example of how we mobilize private capital to support development in Africa and throughout the developing world. Chronic power shortfalls in Nigeria impede growth and development, and OPIC’s support to ACEI will help the Azura-Edo project move forward and contribute to Nigeria’s overall energy capacity, which will help foster crucial economic advancement there.
David Ladipo, Managing Director of Azura Power Holdings, commented:
The United States’ investment in the Azura project, represented by OPIC and American Capital, is complemented by the advisory support given to our public sector counterparts by United States Agency for International Development. These three institutions have recognized the tremendous growth potential that exists in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry and they have acted on this insight with energy and alacrity. We welcome their vision, their partnership spirit, and their audacity.
ACEI is a partner of Power Africa, a United States Government initiative launched by President Obama that is focused on supporting economic growth and development in Africa by increasing clean and reliable access to electrical power. As a partner of the initiative, ACEI is actively pursuing investments in African power companies to originate, develop, finance and operate regional energy infrastructure assets in West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa, which, over the next four years, could reach $800 million in total investment.