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Category: Hybrid energy

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Nigeria’s Ardova seeks debt and equity finance to up clean energy

Nigerian downstream petroleum company Ardova plans to raise debt and equity financing as it seeks to reorientate its business model towards clean energy, CEO Olumide Adeosun tells The Africa Report.

The company aims to complete a capital raising in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021, Adeosun said in an interview. He declined to say how much he will be seeking. Ardova plans to appoint an international bank to find the debt and will seek to raise the equity itself, says Adeosun.

The proceeds will be used to scale up the clean energy business, which currently makes a minimal contribution to the top line. Ardova is aiming for 20% of revenue to come from clean energy by 2024. This will be divided between liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking, solar power and waste to energy conversion.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given fresh urgency to Ardova’s plans. Lockdowns showed that “it’s possible not to sell petrol in this country for a month and the world goes on,” says Adeosun. The company’s aviation fuels business “fell apart” as demand slumped.

  • The biggest share of clean energy revenue is likely to come from LPG, notes Adeosun, adding that clean cooking fuel is one area where the demand curve is not affected by recession.  “It’s an area of focus for the government and for us.”
  • Ardova is also in talks with prospective partners in solar and waste to energy conversion.
  • Adeosun expects the share of clean energy to continue to increase its share of company revenue beyond 2024, driven by strong demand for electric motorcycles and bikes.

Solar Grid Access

Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola sold his 75% stake in Forte Oil to local oil trader Prudent Energy in 2019. The company, which trades on the Nigerian stock market, was then renamed Ardova Plc in January.

The company’s diversification strategy was in place before COVID-19, and the pandemic did not trigger any need for fundraising, says Adeosun. “The rationale was always about diversifying. We know how to distribute fuels,” and this knowledge can also be used for clean energy, he adds.

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Ardova is interested across the spectrum of solar power services as 77% of addressable Nigerian users have no grid access, says Adeosun.

  • Even those who are on the grid often have less than four hours of access per day, he adds.
  • That creates scope for the company to use its “pay as you go” model for petrol sales to new products, says Adeosun.
  • Ardova will offer solar batteries which once charged up can give power for a day or longer.
  • Adeosun’s plan is to implement a “pay as you go renewables” model which uses a digital payments platform while remaining open to traditional payment methods.

Containing costs while executing the strategic shift will be a challenge.

  • A note from Meristem Securities in Lagos on June 29 says that Ardova’s cost-to-sales ratio in the first quarter rose to 94.64%, versus 92.80% a year earlier.
  • That compares unfavourably with rivals such as Total on 88.96% and Eterna on 92.71%, says Meristem.
  • The “cost brakes” have been put on some capital expenditure plans as a result of COVID-19, notes Adeosun.

A high cost base and a poor economic outlook means that Ardova will need to find investors who have what microfinance practitioners call a “double bottom line”. Such investors aim to make a social impact through innovations such as clean cooking and renewable energy, as well as getting a financial return.

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Lumos Nigeria lauds Presidency’s plan to provide 5 million Solar Home Systems to bridge energy deficit

Lumos Nigeria, Africa’s leading provider of high-quality solar home systems, has commended the Nigerian Presidency on its plan to install five (5) million Solar Home System to serve 25 million households currently unconnected to the National Grid across the country.

Buhari reacts as Nigerians say he's not in charge - Daily Post Nigeria
President Buhari

The report by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo which was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja has projected that unemployment rate which was 23.1% (or 20.9m people) at the end of 2018 is expected to rise to 33.6% (or 39.4 million people) at the end of 2020, if urgent steps are not taken.

In response to this, Adepeju Adebajo, CEO, Lumos Nigeria said, “the government’s plan to invest in 5 million solar home systems across Nigeria, is an important development. Energy is a core pillar of economic growth and will be a strong catalyst to sustainable economic recovery, post-COVID-19. Lumos is the market leader in affordable solar home systems, providing access to power to homes, micro and small businesses nationwide, and we understand the impact of power on the quality of life and livelihoods. We applaud this important initiative and will work with the Nigerian government to make it a reality.”

Nigeria, plagued by a large energy supply deficit with only 33% of households and 30% of businesses having stunted access to grid electricity, needed to leverage her abundant renewable solar energy source to accelerate plugging the
enormous gap.

Deploying solar home systems for emergency national energy provision is not new to Lumos Nigeria. Backed by a grant from All On, an organisation established to increase access to energy for under-served and unserved consumers by the SHELL Company , Lumos recently installed solar-powered systems to power primary health center’s and emergency response centers across Nigeria in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

The installed systems have been powering necessities such as lighting, fans, vaccine fridge and computers, ensuring that essential services can respond to the crisis and deliver urgent medical care at the centers.

Lumos Nigeria, which currently serves over 100,000 households and enterprises, was selected on the strength of its immediate preparedness to respond with products, inventory, technological capabilities and efficient delivery track record.

Lumos is a market-leading provider of high-quality solar home systems in Africa, designed to make reliable and clean power accessible to everyone. We combine easy to use technology with a personalised service to power prosperity for millions of people.

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