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Janus Continental Group Invests $13m in Highview Enterprises Power

The investment will tackle the renewable energy storage gap that currently exists across the continent, where nearly 600m people live without access to electricity.

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A conglomerate in Energy, Hospitality and Real Estate sectors across three continents, Janus Continental Group (JCG), has invested $13 million in Highview Enterprises, the developer of liquid air long-duration energy storage systems, called the CRYOBattery.

Great Lakes Africa Energy (GLAE), a subsidiary of the Janus Continental Group, will license Highview Power’s cryogenic energy storage technology to co-develop large-scale renewable energy generation and storage projects.

The investment will tackle the renewable energy storage gap that currently exists across the continent, where nearly 600m people live without access to electricity.

The investment is expected to increase regional uptake of renewable energy and storage. Janus Continental Group believes in a diversified energy solution for Africa, and technology like Highview Power will facilitate an increase in the use of renewable energy, reducing regional dependency on fossil fuels, and bringing accessible energy to underserved communities.

Janus Capital, the investment arm of Janus Continental Group took part in the funding round alongside Sumitomo Heavy Industries and TSK, raising a total of USD $70 million. Highview Power’s liquid air long-duration energy storage systems offer multiple gigawatt-hours of storage, is scalable with no size limitations, and produce zero emissions.

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Unlike other long-duration energy storage solutions, such as pumped hydro-power or compressed air, the CRYOBattery has no geographic constraints and has a small footprint, even at gigawatt levels. At utility-scale, Highview’s storage systems paired with renewables are equivalent in performance to fossil fuels and nuclear baseload power.

The Great Lakes and Southern Africa regions currently suffer from frequent power shortages. This is symptomatic of a wider $108bn infrastructure deficit in Africa, which contributes to the continent’s low levels of electricity access. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that by 2035, developing nations will constitute 80% of total global energy production and consumption.

Janus Continental Group believes that a large proportion of this demand must be met by renewable energy, and long-duration energy storage is key to unlocking its full potential. JCG’s subsidiary, (GLAE) is part of its commitment to creating energy infrastructure in under-served areas. GLAE is currently developing a 250 MW gas-powered plant in Mozambique.

Rikin Shah, CEO of Janus Continental Group, will join the Board of Directors at Highview Power. Rikin brings extensive experience in building adaptable business models to support sustainable and profitable growth in sub-Saharan energy markets. Commenting on the investment, he said, “We believe there is a huge joint opportunity for JCG and Highview to unleash the potential of renewable energy across Africa. We saw enormous value in investing in Highview, both strategically to develop new technologies in the energy space, and operationally to support JCG’s wider growth and business goals.

Highview is an inspirational example of true innovation in energy, and the synergy between their team and ours motivated JCG to make this investment. Together, we’re confident that our two businesses can create a lasting positive impact in the African energy sector.”

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West Africa Business News

Nestlé Nigeria Posts N39.35Bln Profit in 2020

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Nestlé Nigeria Plc has reported revenue of N287.08 billion for the 2020 financial year.

The company’s audited result released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed that the revenue was higher by 1.1 per cent in contrast with N284.04 billion recorded in 2019 comparative period.

Gross profit for the year stood at N 119.21 billion compared with N128.15 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2019.

Also, the company posted profit after tax of N39.25 billion during the review period against N45.68 billion in 2019.

The board in addition to N25 per share interim dividend already paid in December 2020, proposed an additional dividend of N 35.50 per share making for a total dividend of N60.50 for 2020.

The proposed dividend would be submitted for approval at the company’s Annual General Meeting on June 22.

Commenting on the results, Mr Wassim Elhusseini, Managing Director and CEO of Nestlé Nigeria, said that the company strengthened market leadership across its categories.

“Amidst a very challenging business environment in 2020, we strengthened market leadership across our categories. Thanks to our high performing team, we successfully continued to provide our consumers with high-quality affordable foods and beverages to enjoy every day.

“In line with our purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone today and for generations to come, we broadened our portfolio in 2020 to help our consumers fulfil their nutrition needs.

“Our latest innovation is the new GOLDEN MORN Multi-Cereal, fortified with iron and other vitamins and minerals,” Elhusseini said.

Speaking on future outlook, he said that the company would remain committed to supply of high-quality nutritious foods and beverages to consumers.

“Going into 2021 – which portends to be another challenging year – we will continue to focus on keeping our people safe, continued supply of high-quality nutritious foods and beverages to consumers as well as caring for our communities and the planet.

“We will also keep supporting our business partners as we strengthen our operations to adapt to the rapidly changing reality,” he said.

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East Africa Business News

Zambian High Court Cancels State Acquisition of CEC Company Power Lines

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Judge Elita Phiri-Mwikisa of a High Court in Zambia has quashed last year’s decision by the Minister of Energy, Matthew Nkhuwa, to declare a private company’s electricity transmission lines as a common carrier.

By declaring infrastructure owned by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), Zambia’s leading supplier of electricity to the mines, as “common carrier”, Nkhuwa effectively placed the company under obligation to provide its facilities to any entity that wished to use the transmission lines – provided they agreed the terms and conditions set by Zambia’s Energy Regulation Board (ERB) with CEC.

However, CEC dragged the Zambian government before the courts, arguing that Nkhuwa’s decision amounted to “expropriation” of its infrastructure.

In her ruling, Judge Phiri-Mwikisa of the Lusaka High Court said the Minister’s decision to declare CEC’s transmission and distribution lines as common carrier through the passing of S.I No.57 of 2020, took away CEC’s rights to negotiate terms and conditions of use of its infrastructure in view of the fact that any enterprise can use CEC’s infractructure at the wheeling charge that ERB has set, which CEC had argued was not cost effective.

“In fact, KCM has abrogated its contractual obligations under the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) to pay the debt owed to CEC amounting to USD 144 million. I agree with CEC that S.I No. 57 of 2020 is too wide in its application, in that it affects all the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines instead of only affecting lines supplying power to KCM,” Judge Mwikisa said.

She added, “The respondent’s decisions were illegal and tainted with procedural impropriety. All in all, I find that the applicant has succeeded on all grounds…I accordingly quash the decision of the minister of 29 May 2020, to declare the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines as a common carrier.”

Analysts had argued that the move was meant to aid Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), the local unit of Indian mining giant Vedanta, which has been under control government control since May 2019.

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Business News

Okonjo-Iweala’s First Day at Work as WTO Director-General

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As Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala resumes her role as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the former Nigerian Finance Minister went straight into business, as she was at a meeting of the Congress of the WTO.

She makes double history as the first woman and first African to be in the role.

In her first day in office, the former former World Bank Vice President said she’s in one of the most important institutions in the world. She indicated her readiness for the huge task ahead of the organisation.

Okonjo-Iweala saw off competition from several strong contenders before becoming the chosen candidate for the top office of the WTO.

She’s an experienced economist and one of the most respected Africans in the world.

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