Barbados electricity company acquires significant shares in St Lucia utility

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The US-based Emera Inc. Tuesday announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Emera Caribbean Limited has agreed to sell its 19.1 per cent interest in the St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd (LUCELEC) to the Barbados-based Light & Power Holdings Ltd. (LPH) for US $25.8 million.

“This acquisition will allow for greater cooperation between two leading electric utilities in the Eastern Caribbean,” said Peter Williams, LPH managing director.

“LPH having an equity stake in LUCELEC will allow for a sharing of skills and increased efficiencies that we believe will result in benefits to customers in both countries,” he added.

LPH is an investment company and the owner of The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited, a licensed supplier of electricity energy in Barbados.

Formed as a holding company in 1997, LPH was created to allow shareholders to take full advantage of potential investment opportunities in and outside of Barbados, including equity investments in other utilities.  The acquisition of 19.1 % of LUCELEC is consistent with this mandate. LPH is 80 per cent owned by Emera Inc.

LUCELEC has a consumer base of 60,000 with exclusive license to generate, transmit and distribute electricity on St. Lucia to the year 2045.

LUCELEC’s managing director, Trevor Louisy, welcomed the investment, adding “it marks the start of a new era in the utility sector in the region.

“Clearly the region has the financial and technical capacity to make such investments, which was unheard of in the past, and is indicative of a maturing of the sector. It also suggests that LUCELEC has been and continues to be a sound investment option.”

The terms of the acquisition agreement between Emera Caribbean and LPH provide for a potential sales price increase or decrease of four million (US) dollars within 30 months of the closing date of the transaction that is subject to relevant government and regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011.