ACEI commits $130 million to Nigeria energy sector

American Capital Energy & Infrastructure announced committed to invest up to $130 million in Azura Power Holdings Ltd., the company responsible for developing the Azura-Edo power project in Edo State, Nigeria.

President Goodluck Jonathan said the transaction was critical to the Nigerian power sector reform process.

With a goal of becoming the leading power development company in West Africa, Azura will use ACEI's investment to fund the first and second phases of the Azura-Edo power project, pursue its greenfield development pipeline and future acquisitions, expand its team, and grow its construction and operational capabilities.

The Azura-Edo power project is a proposed 450 MW open cycle gas turbine power station being developed near Benin City in Edo State and represents the first phase of a 1,000MW power plant facility.

Azura and the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc signed a groundbreaking power purchase agreement on April 22, 2013, which is being used as a template for other project-financed independent power producers in the country.

The first phase of the plant, which is targeted to reach financial close in early 2014 and come on stream in 2016/2017, is forecast to create over 1,000 direct jobs during its construction and operation. The project is expected to have a positive impact on the industrial and social wellbeing of the area, leading to further economic development and job creation.

In June 2013, ACEI joined Power Africa, a U.S. government initiative launched by President Barack Obama that is focused on supporting economic growth and development in Africa by increasing clean and reliable access to electrical power. The United States Government along with the governments of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania, and private sector partners have coordinated to accelerate and spur investments in the continent.

As a partner in the presidential 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.

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