(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon’s electricity transmission company Sonatrel achieved a net profit of CFAF2.6 billion, according to the 2021 report on the financial situation of state-owned companies published by the Technical Commission for the Rehabilitation of Public and Para-Public Enterprises (CTR). This is 6.9% up from the CFAF2.4 billion profit the company posted for 2020.
The CTR report reveals that Sonatrel achieved this performance in a context where it was faced with huge challenges in collecting receivables from its customers. "There has been a more than 70% increase in customer receivables [...] due to the non-payment of invoices the company issued to its main clients (...), following the adjustments being finalized in the framework of reforms in the electricity sector, including compensation to electric utility Eneo after an early withdrawal of transmission assets and the signing of agreements to access transmission networks," the CTR report explains.
According to the report, out of CFAF228.79 billion in invoices issued as of December 31, 2021, the company recovered just CFAF42.19 billion from Eneo, including CFAF9.9 billion that year with the government’s assistance under schemes like the tariff compensation system.
Energy transmission bills represented over 80% of Sonatrel's revenue in 2021, and are mainly addressed to a dozen companies. These include the electric utility Eneo, independent power producers KPDC (Kribi gas power plant) and DPDC (Dibamba thermal power plant), cement producers Dangote Cement, Cimaf and Cimencam, the Cameroon Aluminium Company (Alucam) and state electricity company Electricity Development Corporation (EDC).
The CTR concludes that due to the difficulties it is facing in the collection of its bills, Sonatrel’s financial situation is risky because its liquidity and solvency ratios do not reflect reality despite its net profit being up 6.9%. It nevertheless adds that the “developments noted in the first half of 2022 with the State paying Eneo the compensation for the takeover of transmission assets and the resumption of agreements to access transmission networks suggest a gradual recovery of Sonatrel’s financial position.
Brice R. Mbodiam