Mota-Engil, a Portuguese contractor with a strong presence in southern Africa, has formed a joint venture with a Nigerian oil company to target work in the country amid an uplift in the price of oil.
The joint venture with Shoreline Group will give it access to Africa’s largest economy, which has ongoing plans to invest in infrastructure and accommodation for its 200 million people.
Under the new venture, Mota-Engil will hold 51% of Mota-Engil Nigeria.
Speaking to Bloomberg on the sidelines of the EurAfrican forum near Lisbon this week, Manuel AntÃ³nio Mota, chief executive officer of Mota-Engil’s Africa unit, said his company was looking at a wide range of projects.
"The projects in Nigeria that are currently on the table vary between €20m to €1.5bn. This could make a big difference to our order book," he said.
He added that the time was "just right" to enter Nigeria, owing to the recent rise in oil prices, which ought to increase the government’s spending power.
Oil makes up about 95% of the country’s export earnings and contributes around 40% to the public purse.
Nigeria’s GDP has increased twelvefold between 2000 and 2015, rising from $46bn to $560bn before falling back to $400bn in 2016 following the collapse of oil prices. Â
According to Mota-Engil’s figures for 2016, it undertakes projects in Europe (35%), Latin America (23%) and Africa (32%). It had a turnover of €2.2bn and an order book of €4.4bn, of which €1.7bn was in Africa.
Image: Manuel Mota (left) and Shoreline Group founder Kola Karim (right) sign the joint venture agreement (Mota-Engil)