Saudi, other foreign firms set tenders on AES asset sale

By Myrna M. Velasco – October 11, 2017, 10:00 PM

from Manila Bulletin

Saudi Arabian company ACWA Power is reportedly among the prospective investors that had put an offer into the targeted divestment of the Philippine assets of American firm AES Corporation, according to an industry source.

ACWA Power, which is headquartered in the kingdom’s capital Riyadh, is into electricity generation primarily utilizing solar, geothermal, wind and waste-to-energy technologies.

The other firms reportedly eyeing the asset had been Malaysian and Thai firms that have their business grip in the energy sector, but their identities have been kept under wraps for now.

On the local firm’s league, those that admitted forwarding tenders had been Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and Aboitiz Power Corporation.

The American company confirmed in recent months its plan to divest its controlling stake of 51 percent on its Philippine operations. The estimated value had been set at roughly  $1.0 billion.

In 2014, AES sold 41 percent of its shareholdings to EGCO Group of Thailand for b $453 million; while the balance of 8.0 percent remains with the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group.

The investment foray of AES in the Philippines had been via its acquisition of the 630-megawatt Masinloc coal-fired power plant at the privatization process undertaken by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) in 2008.

At that time, the US firm submitted the winning bid of  $930 million for the Masinloc asset – in the second round of auction that the Philippine government had done on the facility’s sale.

Since then, the company forked out fresh capital to uprate the plant’s efficiency run, hence, it was able to bring back its generating capacity to installed level.

The US company similarly experimented on putting up battery storage as added source of generation, now considered as the country’s pilot venture on that sphere.

The conclusion of the AES’  sale process for its Philippine assets is expected consummated within this year.