LIBREVILLE, Mar. 24—The Government of
Gabon and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) today announced that
Compagnie Générale des Eaux with ESBI have won the concession for Société
d’Energie et d’Eau du Gabon (SEEG), the water and electricity utility
of Gabon. Mr. Doupamby-Matoka, the Minister of Finance for Gabon, made
the announcement at a ceremony in Libreville.
The winning offer of 82.75 percent of the existing tariff was the lowest
bid submitted for the concession from a group of firms including Compagnie
Générale des Eaux (France) with Electricity Supply Board International
(ESBI of Ireland); Elyo (Lyonnaise des Eaux Group, France); and SAUR International
The new private sector owner of SEEG has a 20-year concession and is required
under a contract with the government of Gabon to improve and expand the
water and electricity services throughout the country or face financial
penalties. Currently, SEEG provides 40 percent of the population with electricity
services and 66 percent with water services, but those benefiting from
these services are primarily located in the urban areas.
“We are committed to working in partnership with the people of Gabon to
upgrade and modernize the water and electricity services of SEEG,” said
Mr. Alain Tronche, Task Manager, representing Générale des Eaux with ESBI.
The private sector ownership of SEEG marks the first significant privatization
in Gabon and the first privatization of a water and electricity utility
in Africa involving full commitment for future investment by the private
To expand ownership throughout the community, approximately half of SEEG’s
shares will be offered to the public in the near future through a capital
increase. Employees of SEEG will be eligible to invest in 5 percent of
the share holding and the public at large will be offered up to 44 percent.
Present at the ceremony were Messrs. Doupamby-Matoka; Paul Toungui, Minister
of Energy; Meye Bekourou, Secretary of Gabon’s Privatization Committee;
Alain Tronche; and Philippe Liétard, Director of IFC’s Corporate Finance
Services Department. IFC was retained by the government of Gabon as the
lead advisor for the preparation and implementation of the privatization
process which was carried out in two phases, a preparation phase and an
implementation phase. During the preparation phase, IFC conducted a technical
and strategic study of the power and water sectors, reviewed the existing
legal framework and proposed a financial restructuring plan. The implementation
phase consisted of identifying suitable investors, supervising the bidding
process and assisting in negotiations and transaction closing.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source
of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing
countries. IFC also provides advisory services to government clients covering
privatization and private sector corporate restructuring.