Kenya: Money-Strapped Kenya Vitality Seeks Lender to Refinance It

In 1973, the Authorities of Kenya signed a contend with the then East African Vitality and Lighting Company to put electricity to rural areas.

Under that Rural Electrification Procedure (RES), the sole power distributor used to be to originate fresh electricity traces in rural areas, make substations, erect transformers and join electricity to rural trading centres, factories and homes.

Four decades later, the Jubilee administration launched the Closing-Mile Connectivity project, in a train to put all Kenyans to the nationwide power grid.

As a result, the firm’s successor, Kenya Vitality, has increased its high and medium voltage electricity network from 41,486 kilometres in 2013 to 84,681 kilometres in 2020. The monopoly moreover stepped up its transformer ability from 6,490 megavolt amperes to 13,383 megavolt amperes over the identical length.

Meanwhile, the selection of consumers who’re now related to the nationwide grid has risen to 7.5 million from 1.2 million eight years in the past.

Capital-intensive projects

Nonetheless to tug off these capital-intensive projects, Kenya Vitality borrowed billions of shillings to finance the expansion as well to donations. On the opposite hand, the projects yielded meagre returns to recoup the funding.

“The schemes of RES are in total typically known as sub-financial because their operational and repairs costs exceed the revenues derived from them. Here is since the activities are undertaken in the rural areas the build income is low,” historic Auditor-Customary Edward Ouko summed up the scheme in an audit file in 2018.

Financing these ambitious projects, coupled with mismanagement and operational inefficiencies on the firm saw it gain more appetite for borrowing, which has one way or the opposite viewed its debt balloon by more than 26 times in the last 15 years, totalling Sh109.9 billion in June 2020 from appropriate Sh4.1 billion in 2004.

Of this, Sh56.6 billion is owed to commercial banks while Sh53.2 billion is on-lent debt guaranteed by the Kenyan government.

Three separate money owed owed to Customary Chartered fabricate up a majority of this commercial debt to a tune of Sh39.3 billion, while Rand Carrier provider Bank (Sh9.2 billion), Equity Bank (Sh4.9 billion) and Agence Francaise De Enhance (Sh1.2 billion) compound the listing. On the opposite hand, the firm settled a Sh2 billion Stanbic mortgage in September last yr.

No doubt one of Customary Chartered Bank’s loans is due subsequent month, with others in 2023 and 2026 while even handed one of Rand Carrier provider financial institution’s loans is due in June and one other one in 2025.

Meanwhile, Equity Bank’s mortgage is moreover due in 2025, while Agence Francaise De pattern’s debt has the longest compensation date and is due in 2030.

Core business

But, at the same time as Kenya Vitality’s debt has ballooned over the last decade and a half of, the income from its core business, which is selling electricity, rose by handiest six times from Sh20.3 billion in 2004 to Sh133.3 billion in 2020.

On the time, the firm made a profit of Sh458 million.

On the opposite hand, the utility firm’s financial performance has fast sunk to a Sh939 million loss for the yr that ended June 2020.

To gain a determined image of how the loans are bleeding the country’s sole electricity distributor, Kenya Vitality has paid Sh33.9 billion in hobby on its loans alone between 2012 and 2019. In 2012, the hobby stood at Sh1.1 billion, rising to Sh1.3 billion in 2013 and Sh2.2 billion in 2014.

In 2015, the utility firm paid Sh4.6 billion in mortgage interests, Sh5.7 billion in 2016, Sh5.5 billion in 2017, Sh6.1 billion in 2018 and Sh7.1 billion in 2019.

Meanwhile, in the six months to December 2020, Kenya Vitality’s finance costs, which encompass the hobby paid on the loans, financial institution overdrafts and penalties for slow price of invoices hit Sh8 billion, up from Sh3.8 billion in the six months to December 2019.

Nonetheless in a slow train to dig itself out of the mounting debt hole, the firm on Wednesday floated an Expression of Interest (EOI) for refinancing of its Sh54.6 commercial debt after the government granted it a one-yr renewable moratorium on the compensation of its Sh53.2 billion on-lent debt.

The firm said that the projects it financed utilizing its loans are lengthy length of time and would possibly per chance peaceable spend a protracted time to realise returns as a result of this truth the favor to negotiate for longer compensation sessions for the loans and perceive higher terms.

“The firm expects to spend advantage of the prevailing macro-financial concern to enact decrease hobby charges when when put next with these below existing companies and products for this reason lowering its overall financing costs,” Kenya Vitality states in the EOI.

The firm’s debt servicing has hit Sh20 billion every yr, with 85 per cent of the debt unhedged on a lengthy-length of time foundation and denominated in US dollars and Euros yet its income is in Kenya shillings, exposing it to foreign places commerce dangers.

Bank debt

“The proceeds of among the prevailing financial institution debt used to be utilized to finance specific lengthy-length of time projects as a result of this truth the need for a rationalisation presently,” Kenya Vitality said in the EOI.

“Coming up from the above, expressions of Interest are as a result of this truth being invited from eligible bidders to re-finance the prevailing length of time financial institution debt and convert the prominent overdraft exact into a length of time mortgage, and to provide a facility to allow the low cost of commerce payables,” the firm said.

Fervent banks and other financial institutions will ranking 30 marks if they readily own Sh58.8 billion, which is suitable over a third of the threshold required to spend on Kenya Vitality’s debt, while financiers who own on the least Sh32.1 billion will ranking 15 marks.

The Nation last month unsuccessfully tried to reach Kenya Vitality to ornately account for its plans to curb its runaway debt and notify how it plans to realise returns from its great investments to the expansion of the nationwide power grid across the country.

bambani@ke.nationmedia.com

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