Ayala gets 17.1% of GNPower

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Conglomerate Ayala Corp. has boosted its power-generation portfolio with the acquisition of a 17.1-percent stake in GNPower Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd. Co. (GMPC) and its 600-megawatt coal-fired plant in Mariveles, Bataan, for $155 million.

This deal is in line with the Ayala group’s plan to embark on $2.5 billion worth of power projects and build a portfolio of about 1,000 megawatts in generation capacity over the next five years, through partnerships with more experienced power players.

Ayala announced on Monday the signing of the agreement to acquire the stake held by an affiliate of a fund advised by Denham Capital in GMPC, which owns the 600-MW coal-fired power generating plant.

The conglomerate will thus share ownership of the Mariveles Power Plant with power project developer Power Partners Ltd. Co. and Sithe Global Power LLC, which is owned by investors of The Blackstone Group.

Ayala intends to hold its investment in GMCP through its wholly owned energy subsidiary, AC Energy Holdings Inc., it said in the disclosure.

“The Mariveles Power Plant is a major capacity addition that is critical to alleviating potential power shortages in the Luzon grid. It is utilizing pulverized coal technology designed to meet global standards and contributes to Ayala’s goal of providing low-cost electricity to the country,” said John Eric Francia, Ayala managing director and AC Energy president.

Francia added that Ayala was still open to participating in the bidding for the right to manage the contracted capacities of the 640-megawatt Unified Leyte geothermal facilities and the 150-MW Casecnan hydropower plant. The government is expected to bid out Unified Leyte by the first quarter of next year.

Ayala president and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala said: “We are pleased with the addition of the Mariveles Power Plant to Ayala’s growing portfolio of energy projects. We are delighted to be working with Sithe Global Power and Power Partners in this endeavor. Our investment reflects the Ayala group’s support for the energy and infrastructure needs of our country and our confidence in its bright growth prospects.”

J. P. Morgan served as financial adviser to Ayala on this transaction.

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