PDS Saga; The names behind & how they won ECG concession

There have been some speculations on the composition and credibility of the Ghanaian local consortium holding 51 per cent of the shares in the Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited with some suggesting that a group of barbers at Osu in Accra are the ones behind it.

The government on Tuesday announced that it has through the Ministry of Finance and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Limited suspended the concession agreement with PDS with immediate effect.

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The government explained that the decision followed the “detection of fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees) for the transaction which has been discovered upon further due diligence.”

There have been some suggestions that the government did not do due diligence on the shareholders and the demand guarantees they presented.

Graphic Online, therefore, set out to find out the names behind PDS and how they got the concession agreement.

Names behind PDS

Information available to Graphic Online indicates that the Ghanaian local consortium holding the 51 per cent of the shares in PDS are TG Energy Solutions Limited (TG), a lead local consortium sponsor with 18 per cent, Santa Baron Ventures Limited (Santa), a local technical lead with 13 per cent, GTS Engineering Services Limited (GTS), a local financial lead with 10 per cent and TBK Ghana Limited (TBK), a local financial sponsor also with 10 per cent.

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The remaining 49 per cent shares are for two foreign companies, Manila Electric Company Limited (Meralco), a Filipino company with 30 per cent shares and Aenergia, an Angolan company with 19 percent shares.

The two foreign companies are the Technical Lead for the Consortium and by extension PDS, Graphic Online understands.

Unified Ghanaian ownership

Meanwhile, in a letter dated March 27, 2019, signed by the Minister of Finance Mr Ken Ofori-Atta and addressed to Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, Chairman of the Negotiation Committee for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Private Sector Participation (PSP), the Minister of Finance indicated that TG Energy Solutions’ shares had increased to 28 per cent as part of efforts to secure and safeguard Ghanaian ownership of PDS.

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The Finance Minister’s letter explained that the move was aimed at ensuring and safeguarding Ghanaian ownership of PDS and to ensure that control of PDS was secured with Ghanaians in a “unified manner.”

The letter said the Ministry of Finance requires that the Ghanaian Shareholding was consolidated and held by a single, newly incorporated, Ghanaian entity (the SPV – special purpose vehicle) in which the Initial Ghanaian Shareholders (and or any other Ghanaian investors from time to time would hold shares.

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Therefore, the initial Ghanaian Shareholders would be required to transfer their respective shareholdings in PDS to the SPV, a structure which was to preserve Ghanaian control of PDS in the SPV (as opposed to three separate entities as is currently the case) and ensure that 51 per cent shares in PDS was always held by a Ghanaian entity.

From what Graphic Online gathered, per Mr Ofori-Atta’s letter, Mr Akoto Ampaw was to “oversee the expeditious implementation of the structure above.”