REFILE-Nigeria's UBA looking to put $2 bln into African power sector
(Refiles changing dateline from LAGOS)
* UBA seeks to invest $2 bln in Africa power projects
* Loan book growth up 14 pct in 6 months
By Joe Brock
ABUJA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Nigeria's United Bank for Africa (UBA) has invested $700 million this year financing power assets in Africa's second biggest economy and is looking to put $2 billion into power projects across the continent over the next three years, CEO Phillips Oduoza told Reuters on Tuesday.
Oduoza also said he expected the bank to grow loans by around 14 percent in the next six months, as it had done in the last six months.
Nigeria is reforming its electricity sector in a privatisation scheme meant to end the country's chronic power shortages. President Goodluck Jonathan last week said bidders for state electricity assets had completed payments, clearing a major hurdle in the process.
"We have been financing different parts of the power sector both generation and distribution. We are looking ... in Nigeria and across Africa with around $2 billion in the next 3 years," Oduoza said on the sidelines of an economic conference in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
Of that, he said around $1.2 billion would be earmarked for Nigeria, a country suffering massive power shortages as demand outstrips supply, forcing those who can afford it to rely on diesel generators.
The state-owned monopoly power firm has been broken up into 11 generation companies and six distribution companies, all being sold separately to private consortia, for a total of around $2.5 billion.
UBA said in May it expected to grow its loan book by 30 percent this year, up from 6 percent in 2012, as it targets consumer and infrastructure financing.
"The top line loan growth by first half was about 14 percent ... for the next half we are expecting about the same thing," Oduoza told Reuters.
He added that African countries outside Nigeria continued to be a growing part of the business, expected to be about 22-25 percent this year, up from 19 percent last year. (Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Tim Cocks and David Evans)
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