Joule Africa to Buy Partner’s 75% Stake in Sierra Leone Hydro

March 29, 2016

Joule Africa said it’s taking control of a hydropower project in Sierra Leonefrom Houston-based Endeavor Energy Holdings LLC and that it will now seek funding for the plant that could begin supplying half of the nation’s electricity by 2022.

Endeavor had a 75 percent stake in the project, known as the Bumbuna II plant. It would be a a 202-megawatt extension to the existing 50-megawatt Bumbuna Dam about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the capital Freetown. It may be complete by 2022, Andrew Cavaghan, chief executive officer of Joule Africa, said in an interview Thursday.

The project will cost more than the $700 million that Joule and Endeavor estimatedfor the entire project in 2013 when they formed a joint venture, he said. Costs have increased due to the results of ground investigations and contract awards, though it won’t exceed $1 billion.

Joule will buy out Endeavor’s 75 percent stake in Bumbuna II and provide equity funding of more than $150 million with African Infrastructure Investment Managers, according to a statement from Joule Africa. It’s also seeking debt funding from international development banks.

Sierra Leone’s civil war devastated the economy and made it one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world, according to the United Nations Human Development Index. The government is looking to boost capacity eightfold with 12 power production and supply agreements through to 2017.

Depending on the success of other energy projects, Bumbuna II will supply more than half of Sierra Leone’s power when it’s completed, Cavaghan said. The West African country currently has about 100 megawatts of generating capacity.

Joule is expecting to reach financial close in the second half of 2017 and has shortlisted Salini Impregilo SpA and Sinohydro Corp. for engineering and construction contracts. Source: Bloomberg