By Ngozi Egenuka

Nigerian business mogul has approved to invest as much as $2.5 billion in power projects across Nigeria.

The chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc will make the investments through a subsidiary, Transcorp Power Ltd., to help boost power supply in the West African nation, he said in an interview. He however declined to give details on the time frame.

Transcorp Power has so far injected about $1 billion in projects with a combined capacity of 700 megawatts, Elumelu, 56, said in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

The company bid for Afam Electricity Generation Co. earlier this month, which operates a natural-gas fired power generation plant in southern Rivers state. Two other offers were received, the Bureau of Public Enterprise said, and if Elumelu acquired the facility it would add 700 megawatts to his power portfolio.
“We have expressed interest in the acquisition of Afam power plant, which we’re going to spend a lot of money on,” Elumelu said. “It will give us 1,400 megawatts and we can do more.” Nigeria’s power sector is riddled by debt and Transcorp Power is owed about 90 billion naira ($250 million), Elumelu said. “If they’re owing you that kind of money, it affects your ability to do more and more importantly, slows your enthusiasm,” he said.

Elumelu also declined to comment on reports that he is in talks to acquire two oil licenses from Royal Dutch Shell Plc. People familiar with the plan said in July that Heirs Holdings Ltd., another company run by the tycoon, was discussing with Shell the purchase of oil mining licenses 11 and 17.

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