SMC targets $5-B foreign acquisition in gas sector–Ang

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SAN Miguel Corp. is in the final stages of bidding for a major investment in the energy industry overseas, according to the conglomerate’s chief.

SMC president Ramon S. Ang said the acquisition target—which he previously described as a $5-billion Asian company, “private” in nature—is involved in the gas sector.

“They delayed [the final bidding] but I’m very confident that we’ll be included,” he said late Monday evening. “I think there’s just two of us being short-listed.”

Ang declined to reveal more details about the prospective deal or the domicile country of the acquisition target, citing a non-disclosure agreement with the seller.

The SMC chief did say, however, that the firm has great potential.

“If this investment becomes successful, every peso invested can yield P10 to P20 in returns,” he said.

If successful, the foreign gas company would expand SMC’s portfolio of investments in the energy sector.

Previously, the conglomerate acquired Esso Malaysia, which was the local petroleum business of Chevron Corp., and renamed it Petron Malaysia.

SMC also owns Petron Corp., which is the Philippines’ largest petroleum refiner and distributor.

It also controls three major power plants, making its SMC Global Power unit the largest generator of electricity in the country.

SMC also owns mining firm Daguma Agro Minerals Inc., which holds the mining rights to a large deposit of coal in South Cotabato.

Earlier, the San Miguel chief said the conglomerate was ready to start building power plants in Visayas and Mindanao with a combined capacity of 600 megawatts.

Having recently signed contracts for the expansion of its coal-fired power plants, Ang said construction would start shortly, and added that SMC has the option to double the capacity to 1,200 MW within the next 12 months.

At an average cost of $1.5 million per megawatt of rated capacity, SMC’s initial investment in this effort would be worth at least $900 million.

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