Ayala seeks ruling on coal loan

by Alena Mae S. Flores – February 25, 2016 at 11:35 pm 

from Manila Standard

AC Energy Holdings Corp., the energy arm of Ayala Corp., is seeking clarification from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on a $1-billion loan for the 660-megawatt coal plant expansion project in Mariveles, Bataan.

AC Energy and its partners signed an agreement with five local banks in December for the 70-percent financing of the expansion project, which is estimated to cost over $1 billion.

“A couple of weeks ago, there was a statement from BSP where they will exempt dollar loans that require BSP approval for power projects. So we’re seeking clarification,” AC Energy president and chief executive John Eric Francia said.

“Hopefully, that could streamline our process if that is clarified… that would save us a few months,” Francia said.

Francia earlier said the 660-MW project was expected to be completed by 2019.

He said a second 660-MW unit was also on the drawing board, but there were no firm plans yet.

“We will start with the first 660-MW unit first. It is estimated to cost over $1 billion,” Francia said.

GNPower Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd., which is 20-percent controlled by AC Energy, owns the existing 600-MW coal-fired power plant in Mariveles, Bataan.

Francia earlier said the planned expansion would have the same shareholders as the existing Mariveles plant. GNPower Mariveles is presently owned by Sithe Global Power (Blackstone Group), Power Partners Ltd. Co. and AC Energy.

The company already signed deals with electric cooperatives for the output of the planned expansion, although Francia did not disclose details.

Francia said the company was nearing its 1,000-MW installed capacity generation target for 2016. The company presently has 700 MW of power generating capacity.

Its projects include a 50-percent interest in South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp.’s 270-MW coal-fired power plant in Calaca, Batangas and an 80-percent stake in the development of a 540-MW MW coal-fired power plant of GNPower Kauswagan Ltd. Co. in Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte.

GNPower Kauswagan is estimated to cost around $1 billion to construct which will be funded by both debt and equity.

The plant, consisting of four units of 135 MW each in Barangay Libertad and Tacub in the municipality of Kauswagan, is expected to be in full operation by 2017.

GNPower Kauswagan tapped Shanghai Electric Power Construction Co., a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China, for the engineering, procurement and construction of the Mindanao project.

Shanghai Electric will also put up the coal plant expansion in Bataan.

AC Energy also assembled 133 MW of wind farm capacity, the second largest in the country, which includes the Northwind Power Development Corp.’s 52-MW wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte and the 81-MW wind farm of the North Luzon Renewable Energy Corp. in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.