The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) has announced the selection of Meralco Consortium as the 'Preferred Bidder' to manage the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

“Yes, but the point is that you still have to negotiate a contract with them. It is only after you have negotiated a contract that you can conclude that you have a winner. But for now Meralco is the preferred bidder” Chief Executive Officer of MiDA, Martin Eson-Benjamin told JoyBusiness in an exclusive interview. 

“following an international competitive procurement process, the evaluation of the proposals received for the Management of, Operation of, and Investment in the Electricity Distribution Business of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has been completed.

The Meralco Consortium was determined to have the highest combined technical and financial score and has therefore been designated as the Preferred Bidder,” a statement signed by Pamela Djamson-Tettey Director, Communication and Outreach of MiDA said.

The statement added “Negotiations will soon commence to finalise all the agreements related to the implementation of the ECG PSP Transaction.”

MiDA however “assures Ghanaians that it will continue to adhere to, and uphold high standards of integrity and transparency throughout the process.”

The Meralco Consortium is led by the Manila Electricity Company (Meralco), a 115 year old privately owned company incorporated in the Philippines.  Its electricity distribution network covers a third of the Philippines and serves a customer population (Accounts) in excess of six million.

Local content

MiDA, earlier confirmed receiving a letter from one of the Consortia shortlisted for the ECG Concession.

“MiDA confirms that it has received such a letter on a Bidder’s concern about the Government of Ghana’s Policy to have 51% Ghanaian ownership in the structure of the Concession,” a press release from MiDA stated.

French electricity conglomerate EDF, French transnational company Veolia and their local partner CH Group – who have put in a joint bid for the ECG Concession – rejected the government policy that allocates 51 percent mandatory ownership of the concession to Ghanaian companies.

In a letter dated February 12, 2018 and signed by Kevin Dadzie of CH Group, EDF and Veolia are protesting against the latest local content policy direction under the amended Request for Proposal (RFP), aimed at encouraging Ghanaian companies and entrepreneurs to be majority shareholders in the concession arrangement.

In the letter, addressed to CEO of Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) Enson Benjamin, and copied to the Board Chair Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, EDF and Veolia said: “We are writing on behalf of the consortium comprising CH Group Ltd, EDF and Veolia Africa, to express our significant concerns regarding the Newco [ECG] structuring requirements as set out in the amended Request for Proposals, dated 29 November 2017 (the ‘Amended RFP’).

The latest amendments under the amended RFP introduced mandatory 51 percent Ghanaian ownership – ultimate legal and beneficial ownership by Ghanaian citizens.

It puts express restrictions on creating different categories or classes of shares in NewCo; and the requirement for this 51 percent threshold is to be maintained for the concession’s full duration; a potential company event of default would trigger the default buy-out-option if this 51 percent threshold is not maintained.

According to the consortium, the above requirements significantly impact the consortium’s ability to structure a workable solution.

The consortium further stated its financiers have cautioned that such restrictions will ultimately impact the concession’s bankability.

It further stated in the letter on page 3 that: “As part of the security package, which will necessarily compromise any financing package, the 51 percent restriction is again problematic; severely restricting the enforcement right of the lenders, and negatively impacting on bankability of the concession as a whole.”