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News

Finnish firm eyes thermal stations for cheaper gas-fired power

Finnish energy giant Wartsila is seeking to convert Kenya’s expensive thermal power plants to gas-fired power stations aimed at cutting electricity tariffs by half.

The company wants to make thermal power investors switch to cheaper natural gas with the government’s support that would push down tariffs for diesel-generated electricity from Sh20 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to below Sh10.

“We’ve been having talks to convert diesel generators to gas-fired plants which is a cost-effective route to take in cutting prices without sidelining thermal plants,” said Wartsila Eastern Africa business development manager George Oywer in an interview.

The Finnish firm is behind the construction of a majority of thermal plants in the country on behalf of independent power producers (IPPs) and State-owned power producer KenGen.

They include Triumph in Athi River, Iberafrica in Nairobi South, Kipevu in Mombasa and Rabai, all adding up to 352 megawatts or 15 per cent of Kenya’s total energy capacity.

He said that Kenya could source the gas from Qatar and enjoy similar low prices like in neighbouring gas-rich Tanzania whose policy currently bars gas exports.

In Tanzania, electricity from gas-fired power plants done by Wartsila costs about Sh7 per unit, three times Kenya’s cost for thermal power (Sh20).

The company has done conversion in Bangladesh and India.

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

Tatu City to make available 435 acres of industrial space in 2018

Tatu City is set to open up more industrial land for uptake next year following a huge demand from companies.

Tatu City Senior Development Manager Chris Ochieng says the about 435 acres will be opened next year for industrial space uptake.

From 2016 to date, the developers sold about 300 acres out of the 457 acres available to multinationals seeking to put up industries at the upcoming mixed development.

He says the increase in uptake came after the development was accorded a vision 2030 flagship project attaining special economic zone status thus making it attractive for investors due to tax breaks.

Some of the firms that have taken up space include Bidco and Chandaria to build industrial plants.

“We are now in talks with Hotel chains as well as multinational retail chains who have shown keen interest in developing here,” Ochieng revealed.

Tatu City is the largest private development in Kenya and has to date invested Sh 2.2 billion in infrastructure.

Tatu City is designed as a controlled development that will provide privately managed utilities to guarantee reliability.

The controlled development is expected to create 100,000 permanent jobs and 220,000 temporary jobs during its lifetime.

“What we have seen is a model for sustainable urban development. The framework and intentions of the projects are good, we want to see orderly urbanisation around such cities in the country,” Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat Director General Julius Muia said.

Source: Capital FM Kenya.

Pakistan investors seek trade deals in Kenya

A delegation of Pakistan traders, including tycoons from Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), have pitched tent in Kenya in search of investment and trade deals.

The investors who arrived in the country on Monday said their mission will take three days.

“The 15-member Gujarat Chamber delegation led by their president Mr Abrar Saeed Sheikh will be in Kenya for three days, they will have roundtable business discussions with potential investors in the country as they scout for trade deals in agribusiness, leather, textile, jeweler, electrical appliances and furniture in the country,” said Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chief executive Angela Ndambuki.

Ms Ndambuki said that during their stay in the country, the delegation from GCCI will also sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with KNCCI to promote trade between the two countries.

Kenya and Pakistan enjoy friendly relations spanning several decades.

Leading importer

Pakistan is currently the leading importer of Kenyan products and more than 80 per cent of the rice imported into Kenya comes from Pakistan.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that in 2016, Kenya’s total exports to Pakistan dropped to $178.19 million from $186.87 million in 2015.

The total imports from Pakistan increased from $359.03 million in 2015 to $394.65 million in 2016.

The total volume of trade between the two countries stood at $572.84 million in 2016, in favour of Pakistan.

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

SA hotel chain to open at Two Rivers next month

South Africa’s hospitality group City Lodge is set to open its Two Rivers Mall hotel next month, adding to Nairobi’s bed space and raising competition in the sector.

The international hotel chain is putting finishing touches to the 172-room property.

It is the latest addition to the portfolio of the multinational which also runs Nairobi’s Fairview Hotel and Town Lodge after buying them from their previous owners.

The new hotel is betting on the Two Rivers shopping complex brand to attract guests.

Two Rivers is one of the largest mixed-use developments in the country which on completion will have offices, a hospital and residential houses in addition to the shopping mall, which opened its doors early this year.

City Lodge says the new property is part of its local and regional expansion plan.

“After several years of carefully targeting a selective southern African and eastern African expansion strategy, our group is on the threshold of adding significant scale to existing operations in South Africa, Botswana and Kenya,” the company said in its latest annual report.

“By the third quarter of 2018, our hotel footprint outside of South Africa will rise to seven, offering 929 rooms to travellers in five different countries — Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania.”

Competition for guests, including business travellers, conference participants and holidaymakers, is set to rise as analysts forecast more supply of rooms to hit the market in the medium term.

A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Hotel Outlook 2017, estimates that a total of 13 hotels are set to open their doors in Kenya over the next five years, growing the bed space by over 2,400 rooms.

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

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