by Alena Mae S. Flores, 28 February 2015
from Manila Standard Today
Manila Electric Co., the biggest electricity retailer, acquired a 60-percent stake in a company that operates Pampanga II Electric Cooperative to help improve power distribution in Pampanga province.
Meralco signed a shareholders agreement with Comstech Integration Alliance Inc. formalizing the utility’s investment.
Meralco said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange it agreed to subscribe to new shares to be issued by Comstech amounting to P300 million, divided into three million shares with a par value of P100 apiece. The shares represent 60 percent of the authorized capital stock of Comstech.
Comstech signed a contract to manage and operate Pelco II in February last year.
“The investment in Comstech is to enable Meralco to contribute and help in the improvement and service in Pelco 2’s franchise area,” Al Panlilio, senior vice president and head of customer retail services and corporate communications, said.
PELCO II serves seven towns and municipalities, namely Mabalacat, Guagua, Lubao, Porac, Sta. Rita, Sasmuan and Bacolor.
Dennis Uy, president and chief executive Angeles City-based ComsTech, said last year Pelco II would still own the cooperative, but Meralco and Coms-Tech would manage and operate it under the contract.
In December 2013, the Pelco II board approved a resolution issued by the National Electrification Administration inviting “all interested and qualified parties to participate in the bidding for providing investments and the management of assets, operations, business and liabilities of Pelco II.”
Meralco has long expressed interest to expand its operations through the acquisition of distribution utilities or electric cooperatives.
Meralco president Oscar Reyes has said the company is pursuing opportunities in these areas to bring its resources and track record of performance to benefit consumers and their communities.
Reyes said Meralco was looking at distribution utilities and electric cooperatives in areas such as north Pampanga all the way to La Union.
He said the electricity distributor was separately scouting in the south from parts of Laguna to Batangas.
“Our objective are areas where Meralco can be of value because we have the resources, we have the track record, we have the experience. Because if there are already utilities there, private DUs or ECs doing a good job there, there’s no way Meralco can contribute. In that way we help improve the countryside, we help improve the communities because we observed that when we go to certain areas, other businesses follow,” Reyes said.