MAPUTO, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has announced that shares in Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the company which operates the Cahora Bassa Dam on the Zambezi River, will be traded on the Mozambique Stock Exchange (HCB).

Speaking Monday in the dam town of Songo, in the western province of Tete, at a ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of Mozambique gaining majority control of HCB, Nyusi said the government would place out 7.5 per cent of HCB’s shares for sale to Mozambican citizens, companies or other institutions under the listing exercise.

Currently 92.5 per cent of HCB shares are owned by the Mozambican State, and the remaining 7.5 per cent by REN (National Electricity Networks) of Portugal. The arrangement announced by Nyusi will reduce the State’s shareholding to 85 per cent.

Thanks to the sell-off of Portuguese state assets the largest single shareholder in REN today is the State Grid of China.

The President described the flotation of HCB shares on the stock exchange as a sign of inclusion and innovation, through which the government hoped to see the company managed with transparency, respecting the highest international standards.

We want Mozambicans and their institutions to be direct beneficiaries of this undertaking. We want to cover the largest possible number of interested national citizens, companies and institutions. We are aware that this decision is not going to benefit everyone who would like to obtain these shares, but it represents a fundamental and motivating step forward, the president said.

He stressed that HCB must operate as a business, and should comply with its nature as an incorporated company, respecting its fiscal obligations, and maximising dividends for all its shareholders.

Nyusi announced that, over the next ten years, HCB will invest 500 million euros (about 595 million dollars), most of which wil be spent on rehabilitating the Songo sub-station, equipping it with state-of-the-art technology, aligning the electricity generation infrastructure with the needs of national and international consumption.

With this technology, HCB will guarantee the sustainable production of clean and reliable energy to supply the domestic and southern African markers, he said.

The Songo sub-station is regarded as the weakest link in HCB’s electricity generation, since most of the equipment installed there is over 40 years old. It is reaching the end of its useful life, and needs to be entirely replaced.

The Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi River, about 1,600 kilometres north of here, is the biggest hydro-electric dam in southern Africa with an installed capacity of 5 X 415 megawatts.