June 20, 2015 / 11:21 AM / 4 years ago

Nigeria's Transcorp says on track for 850 MW capacity this year

A power official works on an electric pole along a street in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria’s Transcorp is on track to boost its power generation capacity to 850 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2015 from 610 megawatts last year, the company’s chief executive said on Friday.

Transcorp, which also has interests in hotels, oil and gas, was one of several firms to buy government power assets two years ago, sold as part of a privatisation meant to end decades of blackouts in Africa’s biggest economy.

“We are on track to achieve 850 MW per day by year-end 2015, which represents a major contribution to the country’s total energy output,” Transcorp CEO Emmanuel Nnorom said in a statement.

Shares in Transcorp, which have fallen 15 percent so far this year, gained 0.36 percent on Friday.

Transcorp Ughelli Power, Nigeria’s largest gas-powered generating company, had a power capacity of 342 MW in 2013.

Nigeria broke up its monopoly on power generation and distribution two years ago by privatising the sector in a bid to attract foreign investors, but the amount of power produced has stagnated at about half total capacity.

Nigeria, with a population of some 170 million people, has installed power capacity that fluctuates between 6,000 to just over 7,000 MW, but experiences severe electricity shortages that are crippling economic growth.

Transcorp said it expected to expand through key acquisitions this year, as well as new projects that will start operations in three years time to tap into Nigeria’s growing energy demand.

Rival Geometric Power plans to build a 1,080 MW power plant with General Electric, with the first phase of the project generating 500 MW expected to be completed in 2019 at a cost of $800 million.

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