Ayala eyes Mindanao power projects
The Ayala group, through energy arm AC Energy Holdings Inc., is aggressively expanding its power generation portfolio to include Mindanao and is in talks with prospective partners undertaking projects on the electricity-starved island.
“There are several players who are doing development works in Mindanao. I’d rather not speculate at this point. We hope to finalize in the next few months a partnership,” said AC Energy president Eric T. Francia.
Francia declined to disclose which among the players in Mindanao the company was in talks with, noting that the prospective partners were in “very advanced stages of development work there.”
Among the most active players in Mindanao included the Alcantara group, whose ongoing and planned projects included a 210-MW coal plant in Sarangani, a 105-MW facility in Zamboanga and a 400-MW power plant in Tampakan, and the Aboitiz Power Corp., which is building a 300-MW coal facility in Davao. Other companies expected to invest in the Mindanao power sector also included San Miguel Corp. and Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp.
According to Francia, the strategy of AC Energy was to forge partnerships with established players like GNPower, Sta. Clara Power Corp. and Trans-Asia, which have the experience and expertise in the energy sector, before it could eventually set off to do other power projects on its own.
“We will not reinvent the wheel. It’s too late in the game to start from scratch so I think that’s an explicit strategy that we’ve taken to look who’s done a lot of the development work already and to partner with them. That has been our strategy and that will continue to be our strategy,” Francia explained.
“Since we are here for the long haul, we’ll be originating projects ourselves as we get better at the development work—but that’s probably for projects that will come online 10 years from now. Right now, when we talk about projects during the first five years of our existence, we want to partner with people who have done advance works and help take the project to the finish line,” he added.
For now, the Ayala group’s focus, as far as the energy sector was concerned, remained in the Philippines as AC Energy has committed $325 million in equity investment in four key power projects in Luzon out of the $700-million capital outlay it had planned over the next five years.
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