Lopez Group investing $330M for 2 hydro projects

by Myrna Velasco – May 15, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

Lopez-owned First Gen Corporation will shell out fresh capital of up to $330 million to advance the development of two of its three blueprinted run-of-river hydropower projects in Mindanao.

According to First Gen chief financial officer Emmanuel P. Singson, the estimated funding for the proposed 32-megawatt Bubunawan hydropower project in Bukidnon would hover at $180 million to $190 million.

The other project seen advancing to development phase would be the 30MW Puyo run-of-river hydropower venture in Agusan del Norte to be bankrolled with $130 million to $140 million financing.

The third in the company’s greenfield hydropower development is the 40.5MW Tagoloan project in Misamis Oriental, but the required capital outlay for it is still being firmed up by the company.

“For the hydros, the big capex (capital expenditure) is not coming this year…it will come in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Singson said.

First Gen president Francis Giles B Puno added that the Bubunawan project in particular is expected on stream around year 2021 yet.

He keenly told the company’s stockholders that the Lopez group remains “bullish in developing our hydro portfolio…all these projects are in Mindanao.”

Puno added “our hydro business development team is scaling up its expertise in hydroelectric power plant construction and development.”

For the planned Bubunawan hydropower facility in particular, he indicated that the company already “proceeded with rehabilitating the access road at the site and expect it to be completed in 2016.”

Apart from new builds, First Gen is also pushing to full completion and commercial operations its gas plants that are anticipated beefing up Luzon grid’s supply for mid-merit capacity starting this year.

The continuing capex allocation for both its 97MW Avion and 414MW San Gabriel gas-fired power plants had been pegged at $200 million this year.