Conduit Sells Stakes In Jamaica, Colombia Pwr Cos For $110M
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17 December 2007
Dow Jones International News
(c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


Conduit Capital Partners LLC, a New York-based private equity firm, has sold stakes in two power companies in Jamaica and Colombia for $110 million, and has agreed to sell a minority stake in a third company in Peru, it said Monday in a statement.

In the largest transaction, Conduit's three funds sold their combined 100% stake in the Jamaica Energy Partners, or JEP, for $92.5 million, according to the statement.

The funds sold their shares in JEP to Basic Energy Ltd., Conduit said. JEP comprises two barge-mounted diesel-fired generating plants with installed capacity totaling 125 megawatts, according to the statement.

The Latin Power I and II funds, which invested in JEP in 1994 and 2000, respectively, both achieved a 23% internal rate of return on their investments, with multiples of 4.4 and 3.4 times invested capital, respectively, according to Conduit. Latin Power III achieved an internal rate of return of 42% and 1.8 times capital invested in less than two years, it said.

Latin Power I also sold its 100% stake in the Mamonal project in Colombia, for $17.5 million, to a group of local investors, the company said. The 90-megawatt gas-fired thermal power plant, which is also known as Proelectrica, is located near Cartagena. Latin Power I achieved a 17% internal rate of return and 3.4 times its money.

"We are pleased with our results with Mamonal, especially as there were difficult periods in the lifetime of our investment in the country," Juan Paez, a partner at Conduit, said in the statement. "Not only did Colombia go through a recession, but there were also regulatory changes and security concerns during this period."

Conduit also said it has agreed to sell its 13.2% ownership stake in Aguaytia, one of its investments in Peru. Conduit had lined up a prospective buyer for its stake in Aguaytia, but the other partners in the project, Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) and Maple Energy PLC (MPLE.LN), exercised their right of first refusal, "so they will be the purchasers," Conduit said.

Aguaytia is an integrated natural gas fired project that is managed by Duke Energy. Conduit said it expects to close this transaction within 60 days.

On Dec. 7, Latin Power II sold a 70% stake in Inelec, a portfolio of three hydroelectric power plants in western Mexico that together generate 52 megawatts of energy, for $193 million, Conduit said.

As a result of the sales, Conduit will wrap up the final liquidation from its $100 million Latin Power I fund, which began in 1993. The Latin Power II fund, which closed in 1998 with $157 million of committed capital, has one remaining investment, a stake in Peruvian power firm Edegel SA (EDEGELC1.VL).

The two funds invested in a total of 18 projects and both have returned more than two times the invested capital, according to Conduit.

Conduit is currently investing in its $393 million Latin Power III fund, which closed in September 2006.

Conduit's three funds specialize in independent electric power and energy projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, and have made investments in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Jamaica, Honduras and Guatemala. Conduit launched in 2003, managing funds formerly known as the Scudder Latin American Power Funds which were launched by Scudder, Stevens & Clark more than 12 years ago, according to Conduit's Web site.

BNP Paribas acted as exclusive financial adviser to Conduit on the sales.

By Matthew Cowley, Dow Jones Newswires; +56-2-460 8546; [ 17-12-07 2116GMT ]



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