General Electric (GE) confirmed its a “keen interest” in acquiring a Nigeria railway concession project worth around $2 billion, the U.S. company said on Monday.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in his 1 October anniversary speech that GE would be investing $2.2 billion in a concession to revamp, provide rolling stock, and manage some of the country’s railways.
“Given the size and scope of the proposed project, it is likely that the debt and equity commitments required from lenders, consortium partners and other co-developers will be in the range of $2 billion or more,” GE said in a statement mailed to Reuters.
It said the concession was in the formal procurement process.
Nigeria has been looking for partners to overhaul its ageing railway system, which was mainly built by British colonial rulers before the country’s independence in 1960.
The West African nation has also signed two deals worth around $5 billion with China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC), part of China’s state-owned railway construction firm, to modernise and build railways in the north and south of the country, the Nigerian transport ministry said last month.
Growth in Nigeria – an OPEC member whose economy has slipped into recession for the first time in more than 20 years after being hammered by low oil prices – has been stunted for decades by a lack of investment in roads and railways.
GE said the railway concession project came on top of around $150 million the firm was currently spending on capital expenditures in Nigeria as cited by Jay Ireland, a senior company executive last week.