Ayala eyes buyout of Japanese partner in Batangas power project

By Myrna M. Velasco – February 10, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

The energy investment arm of the Ayala group is weighing its options on the possibility of buying out the 20-percent equity of a Japanese firm-partner in the 270-megawatt South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation (SLTEC) power project in Calaca, Batangas.

AC Energy President and CEO Eric T. Francia

AC Energy President and CEO

Eric T. Francia

It has to be noted that Axia Power, a subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation, had bought minority shareholdings in the Batangas power facility for 10 billion Japanese yen in 2016. That asset is a joint venture between the Ayala firm and PHINMA Energy Corporation.

AC Energy President and CEO Eric T. Francia said acquisition of the Japanese partner’s equity is a possibility and they are open at considering because this will ensure the company’s “super majority” position. He qualified though that it’s still up for study and any forward decision will only come after the definitive closing of Ayala’s acquisition and regulatory approvals of the PHINMA’s energy assets.

“First of all, we expect to sign the definitive documents fairly soon within the next few days, so that’s the next step,” Francia said, relating to the deal with PHINMA Energy of the Del Rosario group.

Following that, he enthused that the next process will be securing the approval of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on the acquisition deal.
“As you know PCC can take as fast as 60-90 days if you are just on phase one, but if you are on phase two, that could add another 60 days or so,” he explained.

On the Ayala group’s overall plan and further investment decision on the PHINMA acquisition, Francia emphasized that there are “no definite plans yet in terms of thermal and renewables… a lot of it will be dictated on how, to what extent we get the public to tender. And then we will take it from there in terms of specific strategies with respect to platform.”

From what the conglomerate has been ruminating about, the PCC approval is anticipated by mid-year; then the tender offer will be undertaken immediately after – and the timeline being contemplated upon is second half of the year.