Meralco, banks sign P42-b coal plant loan

by Alena Mae S. Flores – December 01, 2015 at 11:25 pm

from Manila Standard

San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co., a company controlled by Meralco PowerGen Corp., has tapped P42.15 billion in funding from a consortium of local banks to finance a 455-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Mauban, Quezon province.

The company signed an omnibus agreement on the funding with BDO Unibank Inc., China Banking Corp., Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.; Philippine National Bank; and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

BDO Unibank-Trust and Investments Group served as the loan facility agent, while Metrobank-Trust Banking Group acted as collateral trustee.

The loan is the biggest all-peso project finance facility in the country to date.

San Buenaventura is a partnership between affiliates of Meralco PowerGen, the power generation unit of Manila Electric Co., and New Growth BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd. of Thailand.

BDO Capital & Investment Corp. and First Metro Investment Corp., meanwhile, were appointed as joint book-runners and joint issue coordinators. Along with Chinabank, PNB Capital and Investment Corp. and RCBC Capital Corp., they also acted as joint lead arrangers for the transaction.

“Proceeds of the loan will be used to fund the construction of SBPL’s coal power project, which will be the first in the country to utilize state-of-the-art supercritical technology,” San Buenaventura said in a statement.

Supercritical coal-fired power plants operate at higher pressures leading to higher efficiencies and significant reductions in emissions over the expected life of the plant.

The San Buenaventura plant will provide efficient and reliable base-load supply for electricity consumers in Luzon once it starts operations in the first half of 2019.

The company plans to start construction by the first half next year.

Electricity generated by the power plant will be sold to Manila Electric Co. under a 20-year power supply agreement approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this year.

“We are doing site preparation [in San Buenventura] and by the first half, we will turn over to the EPC contractor,” Meralco PowerGen senior vice president Angelito Lantin said earlier.

San Buenaventura, in which MGen has a significant interest, has started work on plant site preparation.

The coal-fired power plant is expected to begin commercial operations by the first half of 2019, with construction slated in the first half of next year.

“We are doing site preparation [in San Buenventura] and by the first half we will turn over to the EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] contractor,” Meralco senior vice president Angelito Lantin said earlier.

Meralco PowerGen also has a majority stake in RP Energy, the developer-owner of the 600-MW coal-fired power plant in Subic, Zambales.