Valentine Ozigbo, the erstwhile Managing Director of Transcorp Hotels Plc, was recently elevated to President/CEO of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc. Val dissected the group’s growth strategy from Hospitality to Power, Petrochemicals and Agribusiness.
Q:Very recently you left yourrole as the Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotel Plc and under yourleadership, the hospitality Group saw a rise in the company’s balance sheet, amongst other impressive metrics. How do you intend to transcend this success you have become known for in the hospitality sector to the entire Transcorp Group?
A: Thank you Samson. Touching briefly on my past role as the MD/CEO of Transcorp Hotels, it is indeed true that the balance sheetgrew significantly but we also achieved othertransformationalthingsbeyond the numbers, such as strengthening corporate governance, improving operational efficiency at our hotels, extensive upgrade of hotel facilities, enhanced culture of superior customer care and the numerous global awards we won.
Moving on to the Transcorp Group, my mission is to replicate this success story across the entire group. This includes deepening our play in the sectors we already operate in – from hospitality to power, oil and gas; and expanding into new ones. We plan to ramp up our power generating capacity, achieve a backward integration with our energy business and ultimately provide 25% of Nigeria’s power need.
Q: Concerning power, how does Transcorp plan to deepen its play in this sector?
A: At Transcorp, the Nigerian power sector is one that is close to our hearts and is deeply aligned with our purpose; Improving lives and Transforming Nigeria. As aptly stated by our Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu, “If we fix power, we fix Nigeria”.This sums up our interest in this sector. We are already in the process of capacity recovery for our 972MW installed capacity gas-fired plant at Ughelli, Delta State of Nigeria. Our target is to achieve full capacity recovery, given the impressive milestones we have achieved since November 2013, when we acquired the plant.
We are also looking at diversifying our energy mix with focus on renewable off-grid solutions, which in our view has become inevitable, if Nigeria’s power needs are to be sustainably addressed. Brownfield acquisition is another way we intend to deepen our play in the power sector. As you may be aware, the Transcorp Consortium recently emerged the preferred bidder for AfamPower Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Limited with combined installed capacity of 966MW. Both entities were recently put up for full privatization by the Federal Government of Nigeria, who currently own them 100%. Once the acquisition by Transcorp Consortium is completed, the combined installed capacity of power plants of Transcorp Group would be 1,935MW. This would take Transcorp closer to its strategic goal of contributing at least 25% of power generation in Nigeria.
Q: In furtherance to that, Nigeria is currentlyexperiencing some perennial power issues that have lingeredover the years. How do you think Transcorp, with its history of transforming businesses can be acatalyst to solving the power generation issues ofNigeria?
A: The critical aspects of the power value chainincludesthe gas required to produce power (water for hydro plants); generation or actual production of power; transmission; i.e. ensuring the wheeling of power from generation point to distribution point. Without fixing all these aspects, the sector stays sub-optimal.
To us in Transcorp, we understand the compelling need not to drop the ball at our end, as the impact would always be significant on the sector, given our position as a leading power generating company. In line with this, we ensure that we deliver on our primary responsibility, which is power generation. It is on record that when we took over the Ughelli Power Plant in 2013, its generation capacity was 160MW. We increased this to 701MW in less than 5 years. We achieved this through unalloyed commitment to increase power generation and by deploying significant funds and resources even at extremely challenging times. We remain the best pointer to the success of the privatization of the generation segment of the power sector.
As a leading power generating company, we are also at the forefront of advocacy and engagements to address the myriad of issues plaguing the generation segment and the power sector as a whole. We do this as an entity as well as an active member of the Association of Power Generation Companies. We also provide advisory to the government, key players and agencies on relevant issues and interventions necessary to ensure a robust and thriving power sector. We remain committed to the growth and development of the Nigerian Electricity Market and the maturity of same as envisaged by the Electricity Power Sector Reforms Act.