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Centum to finalise power plant funding

Nairobi, Wednesday

Centum Investment Company said yesterday a $2 billion (Sh202.4 billion), 1,000 MW coal-fired power plant it has a stake in is expected to reach financial close this year.

The Amu Power consortium that includes Centum, won a contract to build the plant in Lamu. The project has attracted criticism from conservationists who say it will pollute the island, an ancient Swahili settlement at the coast that is a tourist destination and a UN World Heritage site.

“We have secured the debt. It is about $1.5 billion (Sh151.5 billion). The equity tranche is about $500 million (Sh50.6 billion), which is now fully funded,” Centum chief executive James Mworia told an investor briefing, adding that two additional steps were needed to get to financial close but did not specify what they were.  Amu Power signed an agreement last month with General Electric to design and build the plant, and the deal will also see GE, through its affiliates, acquire a stake in Amu.

Amu Power and Ministry of Energy officials say the technology General Electric will use is the most modern and will reduce the emissions from burning coal.  Centum said its pretax profit dropped 64 per cent to $31.16 million (Sh3.15 billion) last year. –REUTERS

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