By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Energy Weekly News -- American Capital Energy & Infrastructure ("ACEI") announced that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation ("OPIC"), the U.S. Government's development finance institution, has approved up to $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 459MW open cycle gas turbine power station that begins construction in 2014 and represents the first phase of a potential 1,000MW power plant facility.
The announcement was made at a signing ceremony between ACEI CEO and co-founder, Paul Hanrahan, OPIC President and CEO, Elizabeth Littlefield, and the Managing Director of Azura Power Holdings, David Ladipo, on August 5 at the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC. The three-day event welcomes nearly 50 leaders from across the African continent to further strengthen U.S. ties with one of the world's most dynamic and fastest-growing regions. The Summit focuses on trade and investment in Africa and highlights U.S. commitment to Africa's security, its economic and democratic development, and its people.
ACEI's affiliate has committed to invest up to $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. In addition to OPIC and ACEI, the international team of debt and equity investors for the project include African and European infrastructure funds, development and commercial banks and the Edo State government. The Azura-Edo power project is the first new project-financed independent power producer in Nigeria in over a decade.
"As the lead investor in Azura Power Holdings, we are excited to facilitate OPIC's critical participation in the Azura Edo power project," said Paul Hanrahan, CEO and co-founder of ACEI. "It is relationships with OPIC and other development institutions that underpin ACEI's strategy to create and grow power companies in high growth markets such as Africa, Asia and Latin America."
"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," said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC's President and CEO. "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, noted that: "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."
"OPIC's approval is another achievement for the Azura team, who, in conjunction with their Nigerian government counterparties, have worked tirelessly on the first greenfield independent power producer under President Goodluck Jonathan's power sector reform program," said Lisa Pinsley, Director of Africa Investments, ACEI. "The Azura-Edo power project's suite of contracts are template-setting for the industry and will unlock a growth in the power sector above and beyond Azura's first 459MW."
ACEI is a partner of Power Africa, a U.S. 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.
ABOUT AMERICAN CAPITAL ENERGY & INFRASTRUCTURE American Capital Energy & Infrastructure manages investments in global energy infrastructure assets, including power generation facilities, power distribution and transmission networks, energy transportation assets, fuel production opportunities and product and service companies focused on the power and energy sectors. ACEI is part of American Capital, Ltd.'s (Nasdaq: ACAS) ("American Capital") asset management affiliate, American Capital Asset Management, LLC. For further information, please refer to www.ACEI.com.
Keywords for this news article include: Power Plant, Investment and Finance, American Capital Energy & Infrastructure.
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