Chinese power firm makes Kenya entry

Sunday November 29 2009

Muringa Holdings managing director Gursharn Brar (second left) and TBEA’s international business co-ordinator Wei Hua sign a memorandum of understanding at Muringa’s Nairobi offices on November 27, assisted by Muringa director Elijah Kinyanjui (standing, left) and TBEA representative Zhang Zhan Gang. Picture: Phoebe Okall

A Chinese energy firm has chosen Kenya as its entry point into East Africa, where it expects to invest millions of dollars in the next three years.

Gnangdong-based TBEA has entered into a partnership with a local energy firm, Muringa Holdings, through which it will initially spend Ksh600 million ($80 million) on power generation and transmission in the region.

Wei Hua, TBEA’s international business co-ordinator, said the company wanted to tap into Kenya’s unexploited potential in power production.

Once it is established in the country, TBEA will venture further into the region, beginning with Uganda, where its Kenyan partner, Muringa Holdings, is already working with the Uganda Energy Regulatory Authority.

The managing director of Muringa, Gursharn Brar, told The EastAfrican that the two firms have forwarded a funding proposal to the Chinese government.

TBEA, a manufacturer of electric power transformation and transmission equipment, will use Chinese technology not only to generate but also use power since the current usage leads to a lot of wastage, Mr Wei said.


Muringa will undertake power projects in Eastern, Central, Rift Valley, Western and Coast provinces.

The projects involve construction of 132kV lines and several sub-stations.

Mr Brar says the partnership will enable the firm, which was voted the leading small and micro enterprise in the energy sector at the recent Top 100 survey, to fast-track power generation and strengthen its resource base as it prepares to float its shares in the next three years to raise capital for expansion.

A public enterprise owned 50-50 by the China government and the public, TBEA is among the largest power companies in China, controlling 12 per cent of the country’s huge energy sector.

Giant partner

TBEA reported a turnover of Ksh150 billion ($2 billion) last year while Muringa registered Ksh250 million ($3 million) and has a workforce of about 150 people.

Muringa’s push for overseas investors is driven by the huge capital outlay required in the energy sector.

The transmission power line components supplier has operations in Kinale, Naivasha, Kericho, Marakwet, Nandi Hills and Mt Kenya region.