SM unit earmarks P30B for power, infra ventures


TYCOON Henry Sy’s SM Investments Corp. has set aside P30 billion for fresh investments and general corporate purposes as the conglomerate embarks on “opportunistic” ventures such as geothermal power generation and infrastructure.

SMIC on Friday reported to the Philippine Stock Exchange that its board had approved the P30-billion allotment.

This developed as Allfirst Equity Holdings Inc., a private investment company related to the SM Group, acquired a 60-percent stake in Philippine Geothermal Production Co. owned by American multinational energy firm Chevron.

Jose Sio, SMIC chief finance officer, said that under the laws, Chevron must divest a controlling stake in the geothermal project, which was why SM had to come in. Sio said he could not say yet how much investment would go to the Chevron partnership.

“It is opportunistic,” Sio said in a gathering Wednesday night, adding these would form part of the SM group’s portfolio investments.

The group’s five core business segments are banking, retailing, shopping mall development, residential development and hotel/tourism.

Under the Geothermal Law, Chevron needs a local partner so that it can seek an operating contract from the Philippine government. The Philippine Constitution requires 60-percent local ownership of companies engaged in the exploration and exploitation of indigenous and renewable energy resources.

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