Actis May Sell Stake in Ugandan Power Company to Foreigners

Actis LLP, a London-based private equity fund, is considering selling a “substantial block” of its majority stake in Umeme Ltd. to selected investors, the Ugandan electricity distributor said.

Shares in the Kampala-based company were suspended from trading on the Uganda Securities Exchange for two weeks while the sale is considered, according to statement e-mailed today by the bourse. The stock closed at 360 shillings in the capital, Kampala, yesterday for a 1.4 percent decline this year.

Umeme Holding Ltd., the parent company, is negotiating with a “strong group of institutional investors,” non-institutional investors and management for the sale, Patrick Mweheire, executive director of SBG Securities, the lead transaction adviser, said today by phone from Kampala. Actis has a 60.1 percent stake in Umeme through Umeme Holdings.

Umeme is Uganda’s biggest power distributor and has a 20-year concession, which it won in 2005, to manage the East African nation’s electricity network. In November, the company said it secured a $190 million loan from lenders including the International Finance Corp., Standard Chartered Bank Plc and Stanbic Bank Uganda Ltd. as part of its $440 million long-term investment program.

Uganda, East Africa’s third-biggest economy, has an installed capacity of 810 megawatts, while peak demand is estimated at 509.4 megawatts, according to the Electricity Regulatory Authority. Industrial consumers including the domestic units of Coca-Cola Co., the world’s biggest beverage maker, and Lafarge Cement SA of France, according to the company.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.