(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon has announced the forthcoming opening of formal negotiations with Actis for the acquisition of the British investment fund's 51% stake in Energy of Cameroon (Eneo), the country's public electricity supplier. This information was disclosed by Finance Minister Louis Paul Motazé, who has overseen the interministerial committee managing the operation since September 2023.
"As we enter negotiations, substantial groundwork has already been laid, providing a solid foundation for discussions with Actis. The goal is to iron out any divergent positions and reduce potential misunderstandings," explained Minister Motazé after a committee meeting on November 22, 2023, in Yaoundé.
Key elements of the negotiations include determining the present value of Eneo's shares, a factor that will determine the transaction's cost between the Cameroonian government and Actis. KPMG France is assisting the Cameroonian government in this process, as per sources from the Ministry of Water and Energy, having been recruited on August 7, 2023, through a direct agreement.
While the financing method for the proposed buyback remains undisclosed, initial indications suggest that Cameroon might carry out the acquisition using funds outside the national treasury, potentially involving the National Social Security Fund (CNPS) and the National Oil and Gas Corporation (SNH).
Completing this project would reassert state control over electricity production and marketing in Cameroon, with transmission having already been taken over by the state-owned company Sonatrel in 2015. This marks a return to state involvement in these activities after 22 years. Cameroon would inherit a financially challenged company, grappling with significant debts due to arrears from public entities and the state itself, reaching an estimated CFA 700 billion. However, this renationalization may be temporary, allowing the government time to find a new private partner. The World Bank has presented various management options for the entity resulting from Actis' asset buyback, and the government's decision is eagerly awaited.