Fiji Welcomes Largest-ever Private sector Investment from Japan
The Fijian Government has entered into an agreement under which a consortium, namely Sevens Pacific Pte Limited, owned by Chugoku Electric Power Company (“CEPCO”) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (“JBIC”) will acquire a 44% shareholding in Energy Fiji Limited (“EFL”).
The investment by CEPCO and JBIC is the culmination of an exhaustive process to identify a highly experienced and credentialed international utility to acquire a shareholding in EFL. It was a critical objective of any transaction that the investor not only offer a financial investment to Fiji, but contribute deep operational expertise and experience in electricity generation and networks.
CEPCO’s exceptional track record as an international, integrated electricity utility made them the ideal candidate for the divestment. With CEPCO and JBIC as strategic shareholders, EFL will have the ability to tap into world-leading operational expertise, project delivery experience, technology and financial capacity to support the company in meeting the growing electricity demands of the nation and its renewable energy targets, while also providing reliable, renewable and affordable electricity to all Fijians.
Fiji is wholly committed to an ambitious net-zero carbon emissions target and plans to transition away from fossil fuels and to utilise exclusively renewable energy sources by 2050. With over 50% of EFL’s electricity already generated by renewable sources of hydro, wind and biomass, Fiji is well placed to achieve its long-term targets. The combined expertise and capital of CEPCO and JBIC is expected to dramatically boost this transition.
Acting Minister for Economy, Mr. Faiyaz Koya also announced his full support for the transaction:
“Energy Fiji Limited has found a reputable partner for change in the Chugoku Electric Power Company as it prepares to spearhead Fiji’s transition to carbon neutrality by 2050. Despite the obvious challenges the COVID pandemic has posed for cross-border agreements, Fiji and Japan have capped 50 years of strong diplomatic ties with the single-largest investment ever made by a Japanese company in Fiji. With Chogoku’s operational capacity and expertise at its disposal, EFL can perform better for the Fijians who rely on their services today while transforming into the driving force behind Fiji’s renewable energy revolution.”
The consortium will acquire 44% of shares in EFL, acquiring 24% from Government and 20% from FNPF. As a result of the share purchase, FNPF will fully divest its shareholding in EFL to the consortium. FNPF’s Acting CEO, Viliame Vodonaivalu, who led the initial investment in EFL, expressed his strong support for the transaction and acknowledged the tireless efforts by all employees at EFL in building an outstanding company.
“The opportunity for FNPF to invest in EFL was unique in both the quality and scale of the business and supported our investment strategy to diversify into more growth assets. EFL is an exceptional operation and undoubtedly one of Fiji’s leading corporations, supported by the dedicated efforts of management and employees.
Today we are happy to announce to our members that the investment was a success, yielding excellent returns for them especially given the prevailing economic environment. This will further solidify our financial performance and return capital for reallocation to other investment opportunities.
Following the divestment, the Fijian Government will continue to remain the major shareholder in EFL, retaining a controlling interest of 51% of the shares in EFL while Fijian account holders with shares in EFL continue to hold 5%. Following the signing of the share sale agreement, a number of additional conditions are required to be met before the financial close.
The Government was advised by ANZ Corporate Advisory and Squire Patton Boggs.
(Source: The Fijian Government Website, 26 March 2021)