US companies to become more active in Africa, says Symbion CEO

Paul Hinks, CEO of US energy firm Symbion Power LLC, has said that in recent history, American construction companies have been noticeable by their absence in Africa, and that the landscape has been dominated by firms from China.

Hinks was commenting on the award of two contracts to Symbion and another US company, Pike Electric Corporation, to construct or expand approximately 1,600 kilometres of power distribution lines in Tanzania.

“Symbion, as well as other American companies, intend to change things, and we aim to be a fixture in Tanzania for many years to come,” he added.

According to a statement by Pike Electric, the two contracts are valued at nearly $65 million and fall under the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) which was signed between the governments of the United States of America and Tanzania in 2008. The contracts were awarded by the Millennium Challenge Account – Tanzania (MCA-Tanzania).

J. Eric Pike, chairman and CEO of Pike Electric said: “Pike Electric is pleased and honoured to be a part of the electric infrastructure build out in Tanzania. It is our goal to train and employ Tanzanians in modern construction techniques to provide reliable power throughout this great country.”

Ambassador Lenhardt, US Ambassador to Tanzania, praised MCA-Tanzania and both companies, noting that the contract was awarded only after a vigorous, full and open international competition.

Pike Electric and Symbion were already working collaboratively on a three separate projects in Tanzania valued at nearly $19 million. Collectively, the companies have been awarded nearly $84 million in distribution powerline projects including engineering, material procurement and construction. Construction on these projects will begin early in 2011 and will continue for approximately two years.