(Updates with CEO’s comment in third paragraph.)
June 7 (Bloomberg) -- Centum Investment Co. plans to invest in geothermal projects in Kenya, Africa’s largest producer of power from this source, Chief Executive Officer James Mworia said.
East Africa’s biggest investment company will fund projects undertaken by Kenya’s state-run Geothermal Development Co., known as GDC, in the fiscal year through March, he said in an interview today in the capital, Nairobi. Centum will also invite its partners to join it in the geothermal projects, Mworia said.
“In geothermal, the opportunity is huge and we have significant geothermal resources,” Mworia said. “I don’t think we have enough capital, all of us combined, to exploit this particular resource we have”.
Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, plans to develop 10,000 megawatts from geothermal steam sources by 2030, shifting the nation’s electricity load from weather-dependent hydropower sources to renewable geothermal.
GDC invited tenders to develop eight 100-megawatt, steam- powered electricity plants at the Bogoria-Silali block in northwestern Kenya, it said on March 9. Development will begin in July and the project is expected to be completed by 2017.
Centum’s profit more than doubled to 2.29 billion shillings ($26.3 million) in the year through March as investment income increased, the company said in an e-mailed statement to the stock exchange today. Investment income climbed to 2.26 billion shillings 1.04 billion shillings.
The stock rallied 3.3 percent to 23.5 shillings by the 3 p.m. close in Nairobi, the highest since May 19.
Centum, which has investments in real estate, infrastructure and private equity, plans to sell its stake in two private companies by the end of its financial year in March 2012, Mworia said, declining to name them.
“The objective is to get an optimum price for the assets that we are looking to exit,” he said.
During the same period, Centum plans to make an investment in at least one private company, he added. “Last year we evaluated in excess of 150 private-equity opportunities,” Mworia said.
Last month the company sold its 22 percent stake in Carbacid Investments Ltd., earning 1.2 billion shillings in dividends and disposal proceeds since acquiring it in May 2009. The sale is meant to raise funds for other investment opportunities, Mworia said at the time.
--Editors: Ana Monteiro, Karl Maier
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