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Transcorp to spend $1.575 bln to boost power capacity by 2018

Nigeria’s Transcorp plans to spend $1.575 billion to quadruple its power capacity to 2,500 megawatts (MW) over the next three years and provide a quarter of all power generated in Africa’s biggest economy.

Transcorp, which also has interests in hotels, oil and gas, has the capacity to generate 610 MW and intends to raise that to 850 MW by the end of the year, it said on Thursday.

The group’s Transcorp Ughelli Power subsidiary, Nigeria’s largest gas-powered generating company, had capacity of 342 MW in 2013.

Nigeria, which has a population of 170 million people, has installed power capacity that fluctuates between 6,000 MW to a little more than 7,000 MW but experiences severe electricity shortages that are crippling economic growth.

Transcorp said it also expects to expand through acquisitions this year, as well as new projects that will start operations in three years to serve Nigeria’s growing demand for energy.

“We are speaking to different parties at different points of the transaction,” the company said in an email.

“Our target is to be responsible for 25 percent of the capacity generated in Nigeria … over three years.”

Shares in Transcorp, which have fallen 15 percent this year, shed 1.1 percent on Thursday.

The conglomerate was one of several companies to buy government power assets two years ago as part of a privatisation that was meant to end decades of blackouts in the country.

Transcorp said it expected the contribution of its power business to group revenue to rise to 60-65 percent this year from 25 percent last year.

Nigeria broke up its monopoly on power generation and distribution two years ago by privatising the sector in a bid to attract foreign investors, but the amount of power produced has stagnated at about half of total capacity.