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UK’s Actis buys Thika diesel power plant

By Macharia Kamau | June 22nd 2019

The UK-based private equity fund Actis has acquired a heavy fuel-fired power plant located in Thika as it deepens its portfolio of investments in Kenya’s energy sector.

Through its affiliate Azura Power, the firm said it is now in the process of transferring the generation licences held by the previous owners of Thika Power Limited following the conclusion of the deal.

Thika Power runs an 87 megawatt (MW) diesel-fired plant in Thika and was owned by Melec PowerGen Inc of Lebanon.

“Azura Power Limited… will on June 21, 2019, make an application to the Energy Regulatory Commission for the approval of the transfer of a generation licence issued to Thika Power Limited (TPL)… following a proposed change of control whereby TPL majority investors Melec PowerGen Inc will transfer all of their interests in TPL and Thika Holdings Limited to Azura Power,” said Azura Power in a public notice.

The plant is one of the many power producers in Kenya that have kept the cost of electricity high since the cost of fuel is borne by consumers.

In the financial year to June 2018, Kenya Power paid thermal power producers a combined Sh26.9 billion, which was a slight drop from Sh27.2 billion in 2017.

The Thika plant started operations in 2014 and has a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power where it sells electricity at Sh18 per kilowatt hour.

Thika Power was in the year to June 2018 paid Sh2.31 billion by Kenya Power for electricity, a five per cent jump over a similar period in 2017.

Actis recently acquired 88 per cent of Kipeto Energy, which is planning to build a 100MW wind farm in Kajiado County. The other shareholder in the wind farm will be Craftskills Wind Energy International, which conceived the project and has a 20-year PPA with Kenya Power.

Actis previously owned the Tsavo Power, which runs the 75MW Kipevu thermal plant in Mombasa. It, however, exited after the sale of its 30 per cent stake in Globeleq Africa.

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