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Canadian, Indian Utilities Study Nigeria Grid Before Bidding

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Manitoba Hydro Electric Board of Canada and Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd. are conducting due diligence on Transmission Co. of Nigeria before presenting bids to manage the network operator, the privatization agency said.

Nigeria has issued the necessary documents to the two potential investors to allow them to prepare bids, Chukwuma Nwokoh, a spokesman for the Bureau of Public Enterprises, said today in an e-mailed statement, without elaborating.

Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people, plans to divest majority holdings in state power utilities as it seeks investment to curb daily blackouts. Manitoba Hydro and Power Grid are two of three companies that were shortlisted to manage the network in 2007. The government subsequently suspended the sale, before inviting the companies to re-submit bids in 2010.

The privatization program includes six state-owned electricity producers and 11 heating utilities, to be sold by the second quarter. More than 500 bids for the power companies were shortlisted in June from a total of 929 submitted.

Nigeria, where power demand is almost double the supply of about 4,000 megawatts, plans to boost output to 14,019 megawatts by 2013. Electricity shortages are costing sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy 4 percent of growth in gross domestic product, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Nov. 28.

Electricity output will increase to 5,000 megawatts in the first quarter and 6,000 megawatts by the end of the year, according to the power ministry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at ebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net

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