Ayala unit likely to sell Phinma’s oil, gas assets

AC Energy Inc., a unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., is studying options for the oil and gas assets of the Phinma Group once its acquisition of a majority stake in Phinma Energy Corp. is completed in the next three to six months.

“The upstream oil and gas is not our core. They do own listed vehicle, Phinma Petroleum, which owns a few service contracts. We’ll need to study what to do with those after the deal closes, but we have no intentions of going into oil and gas exploration,” AC Energy president and chief executive officer Eric Francia said Wednesday.

Phinma Petroleum and Geothermal Inc.., formerly Trans-Asia Petroleum Corp., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phinma Energy. The company is engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas through interests in petroleum contracts. 

AC Energy, the energy unit of Ayala Group, said last month it reached an agreement to purchase a 51.48-percent stake in Phinma Energy for P3.42 billion.

AC Energy said it would acquire Phinma’ Group’s combined 51.48-percent stake in Phinma Energy through a secondary share sale. The Ayala unit signed the agreement with Phinma Corp. and Philippine Investment Management Inc. 

“We expect to sign definitive documents fairly soon, within the next few days.  Soon after that, we will file for PCC (Philippine Competition Commission) approval, PCC can take as fast as 60 to 90 days. This could anywhere between 3 to 6 months, give or take,” Francia said.

Francia said AC energy might divest the oil and gas business of Phinma Energy but “we haven’t made a decision yet.”

“But at this point, we don’t have a mandate from the board to pursue oil and gas. But we have no plans, we want to be focused on renewables,” he said.

AC Energy will also subscribe to 2.632 billion Phinma Energy primary shares, building up its ownership to 68.46 percent after the closing of the transaction.

Francia said AC Energy would conduct a public tender offer to shareholders of Phinma Energy.

“The timelines will have to wait until the PCC approval,” he said. 

Francia said the company would study the other businesses of Phinma Energy such as its planned liquefied natural gas project in Cebu.

Topics: AC Energy Inc. , Ayala Corp. , Phinma Energy Corp.
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