Romero readies big investments in energy sector

By Darwin G. Amojelar – October 20, 2019

House Deputy Speaker Rep. Michael Romero, the richest congressman who recently gained majority control of Philippines Air Asia Inc., disclosed his group’s plan to acquire power plants in Luzon and Mindanao that will “surprise” the energy sector.

Romero, who represents 1-Pacman partylist in the House of Representatives and controls Crown Investment Holdings Inc., said his group wanted to expand into the power sector.

Crown Investment won the bidding for the takeover of debt-ridden Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative Inc. in September 2018 and expressed interest to bid for Malaya Thermal Power Plant.

House Deputy Speaker Rep. Michael Romero

“The power business is the business that I’m very, very excited in. We are putting up a couple of power plants in Mindanao. We will report by next year as a surprise in the power sector. We will surprise a lot in the power sector,” said Romero who sold his stake in Manila North Harbor Philippines Inc. through Harbor Center Port Terminal Inc. to rival  International Container Terminal Services Inc. of Enrique Razon last year.

“We are currently buying one hydro [plant] and we are finalizing one. We are putting another RE [renewable energy] with a capacity of 100 MW,” Romero said.

Romero said the memorandum of understanding to acquire a hydropower plant was already signed and was expected to be completed before the end of the year.

“We will also bid in Malaya Thermal Power Plant,” he said.

Romero and his wife Sheila Romero who control F&S Holdings Inc. earlier raised its stake in Philippines Air Asia to 60 percent from 44.4 percent, after acquiring the 15.6-percent stake of Tony Boy Cojuangco.

AirAsia Bread founders Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Menardum control the remaining 40 percent.

The airline operates several flights to and from Manila, Davao, Cebu, Kalibo, Caticlan (Boracay), Tacloban, Tagbilaran (Bohol), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Clark and Iloilo in the Philippines.

It operates international flights to and from Shanghai, Taipei, Incheon (Seoul), Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Guangzhou, Vietnam, Shenzhen, Kaohshing, Bali, Shenzhen, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.