Meralco, FDC eye Ayala coal stake

Meralco PowerGen Corp., the power generation unit of Manila Electric Co., and FDC Utilities Inc., controlled by Filinvest Development Corp., are looking at the proposal of the Ayala Group to sell 50 percent of its coal assets valued at $1 billion.

“We were invited to participate and FDC is considering it. We are looking at the proposal of Ayala,” FDC Utilities president and chief executive Juan Eugenio Roxas said.

FDC Utilities owns a 405-MW coal-fired power plant at Phividec Industrial Estate in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Meralco PowerGen said it was also invited to look at Ayala’s coal assets.  “We are aware [of the sale]…We were provided information by the financial advisor, but we have not decided,” Meralco PowerGen president Rogelio Singson said.

Meralco PowerGen previously participated in the bidding for the sale of the Philippine assets of AES Corp., but San Miguel Corp. emerged as the winning bidding.

Meralco PowerGen is hoping to put up 3,000 megawatts of capacity to address the power needs of the country.

Sources said AC Energy Inc., the energy arm of the Ayala Group, planned to sell as much as 50 percent of its thermal or coal energy assets by June.

AC Energy’s entire power generation portfolio of 1,600 megawatts is valued at $2.6 billion (P135 billion), according to investment group CLSA. This implies that the sale of 50 percent of the coal assets will raise $1 billion for Ayala. Coal plants account for 80 percent of AC Energy’s total attributable power generation capacity.

“AC Energy is currently in discussions with potential investors/partners for our thermal platform,”  AC Energy president and chief executive Eric Francia said.

AC Energy wants a portfolio of 50-percent renewable energy projects and 50-percent thermal generation assets. Francia earlier said the company was looking to achieve the balanced generation mix by 2025.

AC Energy said it would invest $30 million for a 50-percent ownership of UPC Renewables’ Australian business and would provide a $200-million facility to fund project equity.

AC Energy said in a disclosure to the stock exchange the joint venture investment would allow the company to participate in the Australian renewable projects.

UPC Renewables Australia is developing the 1,000-MW Robbins Island and Jims Plain projects in North West Tasmania and the 600-MW New England Solar Farm near Uralla in New South Wales.

UPC Renewables Australia has a further development portfolio of another 3,000 MW located in NSW, Tasmania, and Victoria. 

“AC Energy is very excited to invest in UPC Renewables Australia as it complements AC Energy’s goal to exceed 5,000 MW by 2025. The UPC Renewables Australia platform is focused on large-scale projects and is managed by a high-quality management team” said Francia. 

“The Robbins Island project itself is a very large site and together with Jim’s Plains have some of the best proven wind resources in the world, and the New England Solar project has an excellent solar resource within close proximity to Transmission,” Francia said. 

Topics: Meralco PowerGen Corp. , Manila Electric Co. , FDC Utilities Inc. , Filinvest Development Corp.
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