CEC Africa Investments Limited (CECA.zm) 2020 Annual Report
Significant structural changes occurred in CEC Africa Investments Limited (“CEC Africa” or the “Company”) during the year which will impact the strategic direction of the Company.
The Company, its subsidiaries and associates are collectively referred to as the “Group”.
Shareholding and Board
There was complete overhaul of the majority shareholding when Zambian Energy Corporation (Ireland) Limited, Marina IV (Singapore) Pte Limited, ZCCM Investment Holdings Plc, and several minority shareholders sold their shares to BP Investments Limited (“BPI”), a Nigerian registered company through the Lusaka Stock Exchange. By year end, BPI held 97.5% shares in the equity of CEC Africa. Subsequently, BPI issued a buy-order and acquired more of the shares held by minorities. By the middle of 2021, BPI had acquired 97.9% shares in CEC Africa.
The change in shareholding necessitated restructuring of the Board of Directors, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing members of the Board of Directors for their stewardship of the Company thus far. A new Board has been constituted comprising six non-executive directors and one executive director. Furthermore, the two mauritian directors were retained to continue serving on the Board of Directors.
Relative stability of the Company has been achieved and it is the intention of the Board of Directors to steer the Group to achieve sustained growth and success by embracing opportunities in energy investment and development with an initial focus on renewable energy for minigrid projects.
Divestment of CEC Africa Hydro Limited
Another significant occurrence during the year, was the exercise of a pledge over the 100% shares that CEC Africa held in CEC Africa Hydro Limited (through which shares were held in North South Power Company Limited). This came about as a result of the acquisition of a USD45 million loan from Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc by BPI, for which the CEC Africa Hydro Limited shares had been pledged as security.
Consequent to exercise of the share pledge, CEC Africa Hydro Limited is no longer part of the Group.
One of the major risks in the Group is the unresolved issues around the Acquisition Finance Facility that was obtained by KANN Utility Company Limited in 2013, to acquire shares in Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc. The loan has been in default for some time and various attempts have been made by the parties to try and achieve a mutually acceptable solution. Negotiations with UBA were re-commenced in June 2020 to reset the terms of the loan. It is hoped that resolution of the matter will be achieved during 2021.
The Group recorded a modest gross profit of USD 54 million (compared to USD 423 million in 2019) after adjusting for the tariff increase at Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc in 2019. However, the UBA facility continues to weigh on the Group, and the finance costs attributable to the facility resulted the Group closing the year with a loss of USD 61 million (2019: profit of USD 329 million).
As a global citizen CEC Africa has not been spared from the effects of the raging COVID-19 pandemic. In order to keep employees, service providers and clients as safe as possible, the use of technology for remote working has been encouraged and it is envisaged that the trend of flexible, hybrid working will continue for the foreseeable future.
Finally, it remains for me to thank the Board and Management who have continued to exercise financial prudence to ensure that the Group has sufficient working capital for the short to medium term; and to maintain positive cash reserves.
2020 Annual Report.pdf