FRENCH UTILITY VIVENDI Environment has won the competition to buy 51% of Senegal’s power generator and distributor Senelec. Senegal expects the buyer to invest US$162M over five years in the west African country’s power sector. Others who competed in the tender were US group AES Corporation, Swiss engineering group ABB and Moroccan state-run power utility ONE. France’s state power company Electricite de France pulled out of the bidding.

The sale to Vivendi is Senegal’s second attempt at privatising Senelec. The first was stalemated in 2000 when power shortages dogged Senelac, forcing it to take back the 34% stake it previously sold to Canada’s Hydro-Quebec International and Elyo, a French utility.

The French-Canadian consortium managed Senelec for 18 months, but failed to resolve the country’s power shortages. Total installed generating capacity in Senegal is 422MW, with 398,000 customers out of a population of about 9.5M.