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Ayala selling $1-billion coal plants

AC Energy Inc., the energy arm of the Ayala Group, plans to sell as much as 50 percent of its thermal or coal energy assets, a top executive said over the weekend.

AC Energy’s entire power generation portfolio of 1,600 megawatts carries an estimated value of $2.6 billion (P135 billion), according to investment group CLSA.

This implies the sale of 50 percent of the coal assets will raise $1 billion for Ayala. Coal plants account for 80 percent of AC Energy’s total attributable power generation capacity.

“AC Energy is currently in discussions with potential investors/partners for our thermal platform,”  AC Energy president and chief executive Eric Francia said.

AC Energy’s thermal or coal plants produce 1,300 MW or 80 percent of its attributable energy assets totaling 1,600 MW. The balance of the 300-MW capacity includes geothermal, wind and solar power projects.

Its coal assets include investments in South Luzon Thermal Corp., which owns the 244-MW coal plant in Calaca, Batangas; the 632-MW-GNPower Mariveles coal plant in Mariveles, Bataan; the 1,336-MW GNPower Dinginin coal plant also in Mariveles; and the 540-MW GN Power Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte.

The sale aims to balance AC Energy’s renewable and thermal portfolios and raise capital to support regional expansion.

“While we will grow our renewables exponentially, we shall continue to grow our thermal platform in the Philippines and around the region,” said Francia.

AC Energy wants a portfolio of 50-percent renewable energy projects and 50-percent thermal generation assets.

Francia earlier said the company was looking to achieve the balanced generation mix by 2025.

AC Energy nearly doubled its net profit to P593 million in the first quarter from a year ago.

The company plans to exceed 5,000 MW of power generation capacity by 2025.

“Our goal is to exceed five gigawatts of capacity by 2025. We will do this by growing both in the Philippines and around the region,” Francia said.

Francia said AC Energy was prepared to invest “over $2 billion of equity” to reach its 5-GW generation portfolio target.

“From a standing start, AC Energy has quickly grown into a significant power company. In just five years, it was able to exceed a thousand MW of capacity with strong platforms in both thermal and renewable energy,” Ayala Corp. chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said.

He said the conglomerate saw the potential of the power industry as a sustainable business and as a crucial driver for national progress. 

Zobel de Ayala said the country needed reliable and affordable power, supported by reforms in the industry which would enable more competition and opportunities.

“We’ve always viewed such structural shifts in an industry as opportunities for Ayala to make an impact and create value. This is why we decided to throw our hat in the ring of the power sector,” he said.

Francia said the company was aspiring to be one of the largest power companies in the country and the region.

“We aspire to be a major growth driver for the Ayala Group and we aspire to make a difference to improve lives through reliable, affordable and sustainable power. I’m very proud to say that we’ve been surpassing expectations,” he said.

The company programmed over $300 million in spending this year but the amount could change depending on the type of projects it planned to undertake.

Topics: AC Energy Inc. , Ayala Group , Eric Francia , coal plants , Zobel de Ayala
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