NSSF would consider buying out all Umeme shareholders, says MD

KAMPALA

Despite the ongoing parliamentary probe into the National Social Security Fund’s alleged irregularity in the acquisition of shares in Umeme, the Fund’s acting managing director says she would consider buying out all the other shareholders and make the firm (Umeme) local given chance.
Speaking at the fifth annual chief executive officers summit in Kampala yesterday, Ms Geraldine Ssali Busuulwa, said although the Fund collects Shs60 billion worth of member contributions daily, there are not many good projects where such funds can be invested to generate good returns for its members.
“NSSF would consider buying out all the other shareholders in Umeme and make the company a local one because the Fund has money but there are not many good investment vehicles where it can invest money to generate good returns,” she noted.

Good returns
According to her, the Umeme investment has delivered good returns for the Shs4 trillion Fund while its attractive future prospects, expected to come from the increasing demand for electricity, also make it a core holding in the NSSF portfolio.
Ms Ssali had earlier said since the Initial Public Offering (IPO), the Fund has gained a 41 per cent return including Shs3 billion in dividends.
NSSF is the third largest institutional investor in the utility company (Umeme), controlling 14.27 per cent stake, up from 8.1 per cent that was bought during the IPO.
Umeme chief executive officer Charles Chapman, however, cautioned NSSF against the move saying that it would not be a good investment decision for the Fund to put all its “eggs in one basket.” “It’s fantastic having strategic investments but buying off all shareholders in Umeme could not be good for the company you need to diversify your investments,” Mr Chapman said.
The summit was organised under the theme: The role of energy in championing social and economic transformation.

fkulabako@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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