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COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE DES EAUX (FRANCE) WITH ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BOARD INTERNATIONAL (ESBI OF IRELAND) WIN BID FOR GABON’S WATER AND ELECTRICITY UTILITY


Amy Conran
Phone: (1-202) 473-9119
Fax: (1-202) 974-4384
E-mail: aconran@ifc.org


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 (France).


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 operator.


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.


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