Oman sells $1 bln stake in electricity company to Chinese buyer

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Oman’s state-owned Electricity Holding Company, also known as Nama, has sold a 49 percent stake in Oman Electricity Transmission Co. to State Grid Corporation of China, raising around $1 billion, Mansoor Al Hinai, a Nama spokesman, said on Sunday.

The deal is one of five privatisations that Nama is planning as Oman seeks to raise cash from asset sales to bolster its coffers, which have been depleted over the past few years by a slump in oil prices.

A deal for Muscat Electricity Distribution Co. is planned for the second quarter of 2020, Hinai said, adding that 14 non-binding bids had been submitted for it.

Oman has smaller energy reserves and lower oil output than most of its wealthy neighbors. It has forecast a 2019 budget deficit of 2.8 billion rials ($7.28 billion), or 9 percent of gross domestic product.

The Gulf state raised $3 billion in international bonds this year, demonstrating its ability to access international financial markets after it was downgraded to junk status by all three major rating agencies.

The economy contracted by 1.9 percent in nominal terms in the first half of the year as the non-oil sector shrank, the central bank said last week.

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