21 December 2006 — The AES Corp. announced that its subsidiary, AES SONEL, plans to expand its electricity network in Cameroon, more than doubling the number of people it currently serves over the next 15 years and extending its network to previously unserved parts of the country.
The improvements are part of an amended concession agreement AES SONEL has reached with the Government of Cameroon. AES also announced that AES SONEL secured a $340 million financing package — one of the largest ever provided to a privatized utility in Sub-Saharan Africa — to finance a majority of these system improvements.
AES SONEL expects to add approximately 50,000 new electricity connections each year over the next 15 years. The company also plans to upgrade its existing transmission, distribution and generation facilities. AES SONEL is the sole electric utility in Cameroon and currently generates and distributes electricity to more than 528,000 customers in the country.
Since AES acquired SONEL in 2001, AES has expanded the country’s back-up power generation capacity in Cameroon. In 2004, AES SONEL finalized construction and began operation of an 85 MW thermal power plant, called Limbe, which has increased the country’s available generating capacity in the dry season by approximately 20 percent.
The 13-year $340 million financing was provided by a syndicate comprising eight developmental finance institutions, which includes the International Finance Corp., the European Investment Bank, African Development Bank, the Central African Development Bank, DEG – Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, FMO – The Netherlands Development Finance Company and Proparco.