Home » Ugandan magnate Patrick Bitature seeks gov’t bailout through power plant sale

Ugandan magnate Patrick Bitature seeks gov’t bailout through power plant sale

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Patrick Bitature

Ugandan businessman Patrick Bitature is reportedly in talks with the Ugandan government to sell the heavy fuel Electromax power plant in Tororo District in a bid to bail himself out of a $30-million debt owed to South African lender, Vantage Capital.

Bitature, the group CEO of Simba Group, an East African conglomerate with interests in real estate, hotel and hospitality, telecom, oil and gas, agriculture, and media, sought government assistance earlier this year after experiencing financial difficulties and being embroiled in a court battle with a South African lender over a loan repayment. However, the bailout was a failure.

During a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni, Bitature floated the idea of the government acquiring the power plant, which is owned by Simba Group and operated by independent power producer Electro-Maxx Limited. The 50-MW plant was built in 2012 under a build, own, and operate model to address low electricity generation and increasing demand in the country.

The president directed the ministries of energy and finance to continue discussions with Bitature to thrash out the finer details of the deal. Minister of Energy Permanent Secretary Irene Bateebe confirmed that an audit of the power plant is being conducted as part of the due diligence process.

If the plant is acquired by the government, it will be added to the stable of the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited. Presently, the government has a power purchase agreement with Electromax, although the latter has scarcely supplied electricity to the national grid due to surpluses from hydroelectric generation. 

Bitature, the newly appointed chairman of the board of Bollore Logistics Uganda, which has won a contract to handle the majority of logistics work for the company’s oil fields and pipeline in western Uganda, has recently been confronted with a number of financial issues.

According to a recent report, he has yet to repay a $10-million investment from Vantage Capital which has tripled in value to around $30 million, resulting in a legal battle over ownership of the Ugandan businessman’s Kampala properties.

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