US company scraps US$180m agreement to provide utilities to upper north province

Merciel International, a US multi-national, has dissolved its US$180 million agreement with the Upper North Utilities (UNU) Ltd to provide electricity, drinking water, gas and drainage services to 44 islands in the upper north province.

The agreement was signed in August 2010 to form a joint venture company to provide utility services to islands in the four northernmost atolls in what would have been one of the largest development projects in the country’s history.

Sun Online reported that Merciel informed UNU Managing Director Abdulla Waheed in a letter that the decision to withdraw from the deal was made following the utility company’s failure to provide details of its assets and capital, which were required to form the joint venture.

“As UNU has failed to respect our commitment and to provide the necessary cooperation, we have decided to withdraw from our agreement and to bring an end to all talks on the joint-venture company immediately,” reads the letter from Merciel CEO Bradley Smegal.