Insurer eyes key infra projects

by Riza T. Olchondra – 12:03 AM December 25th, 2015

from Philippine Daily Inquirer

SEEKING ways to expand its footprint in the country, a non-life insurance unit of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is looking at the infrastructure and energy sectors as growth areas.

“Providing insurance coverage, our business is related to economic growth. We can support economic growth, help continue this growth, with insurance,” BPI/MS Insurance Corp. president Kenichi Tanabe told reporters.

He noted the government is building more roads and private companies are building more power plants and upgrading distribution systems to respond to the growing demand for transport, retail and manufacturing businesses, he said.

Besides insurance for the construction and operation stages, there are other types of insurance coverage where the private sector can come in, such as natural disaster coverage, he said.

“It depends on the request of the client, what their needs are,” he said.

Among the recent projects that BPI/MS Insurance covered was the 10-megawatt (MW) solar power project of RASLAG Corp. in Pampanga province.

The subsidiary of the Bank of the Philippine Islands signed a financing agreement with RASLAG to more than double the renewable energy company’s solar power project. The firm’s Sustainable Energy Finance team, in partnership with the International Finance Corp. (IFC), supported this agreement by providing the technical evaluation of the project.

Data from the company showed that RASLAG, the renewable energy unit of power generation company Angeles Power Inc., availed of a 12-year, peso-denominated term loan of P800 million.

RASLAG availed of the loan to expand its existing 10-MWsolar power plant (called RASLAG 1) to 23.14 MW. The solar power plant is located in Barangay Suclaban, Mexico, Pampanga.

The expanded solar farm is projected to have a total annual output capacity of 33,617 megawatt-hours (MWh) at 99.5 percent plant availability upon completion, enough to supply electricity to about 20,700 households.

Forecast by Goldman Sachs to become the largest economy in South East Asia by 2050, the Philippines will need to outgrow its reliance on fuel imports and strengthen its power highways to be able to achieve an economic growth of 6 to 8 percent per year.

The Philippine government thus aims to add 16.2 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity in the next 15 years, which is equivalent to the country’s entire generating capacity today.