Mirant pulling out of Ja

From Jamaica Gleaner News

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Mirant Corporation has announced it has agreed to sell its controlling stake in the Jamaica Public Service Company and all of its Caribbean assets to Marubeni Corporation of Japan for US$1.082 billion.

Finance Minister Dr. Omar Davies announced in Parliament Wednesday that JPS is being sold for US$800 million, having acquired an 80 per cent stake in the power company for US$201 million in 2001.

Government owns the remaining 20 per cent, which it retained upon privatising the monopoly electricity provider to the United States-based Mirant.

Mirant, which last year survived Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S., has had a troubled history in Jamaica with frequent customer complaints of inflated light bills, numerous inquiries by the Office of Utilities Regulation and last July’s islandwide shutdown, which was attributed to the JPS’ failure to adequately maintain the national grid. The profitability of the JPS continues to be affected by the prevalence of illegal connections in many communities while the company claimed that irregularities found on the bills of 600 businesses, cost it US$30 million (J$2 billion) in 2006.

Cabinet will decide on Monday whether to approve Marubeni, which has previously worked with the government.

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