FUTURE INVESTMENT: The ideal project

26 August 2005
'We are approaching $90 million in gross project revenue, which will give us $30 million-50 million a year for investment purposes. At the moment, the money is going back to CDC as dividends, but in the future we may retain it, so that in two years' time we will have close to $100 million a year to invest in emerging markets.

'We have $1,000 million worth of investments. Against this we would be able to borrow up to 25 per cent, so $250 million on a one-off basis. Our biggest spend in a single year so far is $180 million, so, in addition to our annual income for investments, we would be able to spread this amount over a number of years. Our goal is to achieve organic growth of 15 per cent.

'Our projects are based on a 20-year cash flow forecast, with an internal rate of return (IRR) of 15-16 per cent, and 12 per cent pretty much from the word go.

'Our main prerequisites for taking on a project or investment are: that it is in a safe country with as sound an economy as possible for a developing state; and there is a sensible regulatory regime that supports the idea of private power.

'Our ideal situation would be a greenfield site, but we believe strongly that the smartest plants will be developed by someone who is already active in the market, as we are for example in Bangladesh - where we supply almost 70 per cent of night power and a third of that in the day - or Egypt. In China, on the other hand, we would have no competitive advantage. So we would look first at greenfield sites, and ideally only greenfield sites, but in countries where we already have a presence.'

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