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Despite some payment delays the Ministry of Public Enterprises (MoPE) has collected ten times more than they expected during the just ended fiscal year. It was its biggest sales amount in history.
MoPE, who is responsible for managing and privatizing public enterprises, recently changed some of the ways it privatized businesses.
In the beginning of the budget year MoPE disclosed a plan to collect 2.11 billion birr in down and post payments from privatized companies.
However the actual collection was more than expected. A week ago Girma Amente (PhD), Minister of MoPE, told the Public Enterprises Standing Committee that the enterprise collected 12.6 billion birr from the privatization process.
The high revenue was collected from the deal of two public enterprises, according Girma.
In the first month of the 2016/17 budget year, the biggest ever deal was concluded between MoPE and Japan Tobacco Inc.
The Japanese company agreed to pay USD 510 million for a 40 percent share on the National Tobacco Enterprise S.C., a tobacco monopoly in the country. Within a few days the company wired that amount.
Recently, the then Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Authority sold Meta Brewery at a total cost of USD 225 million for Diageo. This sales was considered a record until the Japanese company offered over half a billion USD for the tobacco monopoly.
The government still has a 29 percent share in the tobacco manufacturer, and Sheba Ethiopia Investment, a Yemeni company is the other shareholder.
According to Girma, the other big deal is the sale of Ambo Mineral Water SC.
On December 2016 the ministry agreed with the Mauritius-based company, Ambo International Holding Ltd to transfer the 33 percent share held by the government at a total sale value of USD 19.7 million. Currently Ambo is fully owned by the Mauritius Company.
Wondafrash Assefa, public relations head of MoPE, told Capital that MoPE’s projection and the actual revenue was totally different because the deal was unpredictable. “They are already under a joint venture bases so we have to give priority to the initial partners for the tobacco industry and Ambo, so it was not included in the projection,” he added.
“This kind of privatization takes time and includes negotiation with the JV partners,” he added.
There are companies who have not concluded their required accrued payment. “In the past six months we have spoken with the companies that have to pay the accrued fee and we have signed agreement to conclude the deal in the given time frame,” the Minister explained.
He mentioned the issue with Horizon Plantation PLC, a subsidiary of MIDROC Investment Group. “The company signed an agreement to settle their payment in the given time frame,” he added.
Horizon has agreed with MoPE to pay the overdue 1.4 billion birr by the end of the past budget year that ended on Friday July 7, 2017.
The overdue payment for the privatization of Upper Awash and, other farms, mainly coffee farms is expected from Horizon. Girma told the Standing Committee that Horizon has concluded the full payment for Coffee Processing and Warehouse Enterprise. The owed transfer for the coffee processing and warehouse is 160 million birr.
When the paper went to print Horizon had not transferred the overdue amount of 1.4 billion birr.
A day before the end of the budget year MoPE agreed to transfer Kombolcha Textile Factory to Ambasel Trading House at a total cost of 450 million birr. According to the agreement, the company has to pay 35 percent upfront and the balance including the interest within five years.
Ambasel is one of the companies under Tiret Corporate Group, an endowment of Amhara National Democratic Movement.