Founding shareholder in Ugandan power firm Umeme to sell down stake

NAIROBI Thu May 8, 2014 2:11am EDT

NAIROBI May 8 (Reuters) - The main shareholder in Uganda's sole power distributor, Umeme Ltd, said on Thursday it planned to sell 45.1 percent out of the 60.08 percent stake it owns in the utility through a private placement.

Umeme Holdings, a subsidiary of London-based private equity firm Actis, said in a statement in Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper that it anticipated the sale will have no effect on the management or board of the utility or its finances.

"A seamless transaction would allow the original founding shareholder of Umeme to reduce its shareholding through secondary sales to investors on the Ugandan and Kenyan markets," Umeme Holdings said.

"The decision by the company to reduce its investment and bring in new investors by private treaty is guided by the need to ensure that the bulk of the shares to be sold are placed with institutional investors..."

Umeme's shares were suspended on Tuesday from trade on the Kenyan and Ugandan bourses pending the sale. Umeme Holdings said the suspension will be lifted on Friday. Umeme's shares closed at 360 shillings ($0.14) on Monday.

The company reported an 89 percent rise in pretax profits last year, to 115.2 billion Ugandan shillings. ($1=2517 Ugandan shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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