Oman names advisors for privatising five power firms

Oman ElecOman’s state-owned electricity holding firm, Nama Holding, has appointed a consortium of advisors, jointly led by London Economics and Lazard Freres, to privatise its five subsidiary power distribution and transmission firms

London Economics will provide economic advisory services, while Lazard Freres will manage financial transactions. The consortium will also have five other advisory firms providing services in other areas, according to a Nama Holding release.

The five Nama group companies to be privatised are Muscat Electricity Distribution Company, Majan Electricity Company, Mazoon Electricity Company, Dhofar Power Company, and Oman Electricity Transmission Company.

The advisors were appointed after the Oman’s Cabinet decided to privatise state-owned electricity firms, which was announced by Darwish bin Ismail Al Balushi, minister of financial affairs. The government has also formed a temporary supervisory committee to oversee the privatisation of firms in the power sector.

Nama Holding owns nine power companies engaged in predominantly distribution and transmission. A major portion of Oman’s electricity is generated by independent power producers, which are partly owned by multinational firms.

Although, the government had indicated plans for divesting stakes in several state-owned firms, the entire process is taking time, and several companies have yet to announce a plan for the disinvestment programme.

The companies for privatisation will be identified after carefully considering their present financial status. The Ministry of Finance had earlier revealed that the government planned to divest stakes in at least 11 state-owned companies to raise funds to reduce deficits and improve efficiencies.

In an attempt to enhance efficiency and facilitate the smooth privatisation of state-owned firms, the government has transferred its stakes in several firms to either sector-specific holding companies or investment funds. These holding companies include Oman Food Investment Holding, Oman Global Logistics Group, and the Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic).

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