SBPL gets P42.15-billion loan from local banks

by Lenie Lectura – December 1, 2015

from Business Mirror

THE joint venture of Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen) and Thailand’s New Growth B.V. has secured a P42.15-billion funding from a consortium of local banks to partly finance the planned 500-megawatt (MW) supercritical coal-fired power plant to be put up in Mauban, Quezon.

San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. (SBPL) has signed an omnibus agreement for the project funding, the biggest all-peso project finance facility in the country to date.

The senior-term loan lenders are BDO Unibank Inc., China Banking Corp. (Chinabank), Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank), Philippine National Bank (PNB) and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

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

Meanwhile, BDO Capital & Investment Corp. and First Metro Investment Corp. were appointed as joint bookrunners and joint issue coordinators. Together 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.

SBPL has started work on plant-site preparation. Now that it has achieved financial closing, MGen can proceed to work on the award of the engineering, procurement and construction contract.

The commercial operation of the so-called supercritical coal-fired power plant is expected within the first half of 2019, with the start of construction scheduled in the first half of next year.

Compared to subcritical power plants, 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.

Once it starts commercial operations, the SBPL plant will provide efficient and reliable base-load supply for electricity consumers in Luzon.

The electricity generated by SBPL’s plant will be sold to Meralco under a 20-year power supply agreement that was approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this year.