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EGCO-Coal plant venture advances

Angelito U. Lantin, MGen senior vice-president and general manager, said the two companies have formed San Buenaventura Power Ltd. that will serve as joint venture vehicle that will develop the new power facility beside the existing 460-MW Quezon coal plant in the municipality of Mauban.

“Several development activities are under way. For the selection of EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor, we received bids from three consortia formed by established Korean and Japanese companies,” Mr. Lantin said in a briefing in Pasig City.

“We are in the final stages of evaluating these bids and, hopefully, we will start negotiations this month or April,” he added.

San Buenaventura has also identified a financial advisor for the project and received financing proposals from local and international banks, according to the official.

“We target financial closing and issuance of notice to proceed to the EPC contractor this year, hopefully in the third quarter,” Mr. Lantin said.

“If we can do that, we can achieve commercial operations of the project by late 2017.”

In August last year, the subsidiaries of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and Thailand-based Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd. (EGCO) signed a joint development agreement for the new 460-MW coal-fired power plant.

The agreement provides that Meralco’s unit, MGen, will hold a 51% stake in the project while EGCO’s unit, New Growth, will hold the remaining 49% stake.

EGCO holds a 98% stake in Quezon Power (Philippines) Ltd. Co. (QPL), which operates the existing 460-MW Quezon power plant in Barangay Cagsiay I. The remaining interest is held by PMR Ltd.

QPL Managing Director Frank Thiel, in September 2012, said EGCO was in talks with Meralco for a possible plant expansion joint venture, as well as for the power that will be generated by the new plant.

The existing Quezon power plant — which started commercial operations in May 2000 — supplies the Luzon grid under a 25-year power supply deal with Meralco, which in turn distributes electricity in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal; as well as several parts of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon and Pampanga.

EGCO Group, according to its Web site, is engaged in power, service and water businesses in Thailand and in other economies. It currently runs 21 power plants and has nine more such facilities in the pipeline. These projects have a total installed capacity of 6,437.98 MW.

Meanwhile, MGen partnered with Aboitiz Power Corp. to form Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc. — the proponent of a 600-MW coal-fired power plant in Subic, Zambales. The plant’s commercial operation is targeted to start 2017.

MGen has also ventured abroad in partnership with First Pacific Co. Ltd. The two have incorporated PacificLight Power Pte. Ltd., which holds a 70% stake in GMR Energy Singapore Pte. Ltd. — owner of an 800-MW natural gas power plant on Jurong Island, Singapore which started full commercial operation last January.

MGen is the power generation arm of Meralco, the country’s largest distribution utility.

Meralco’s net income edged up by 0.50% to P17.211 billion last year from P17.117 billion in 2012. Its shares closed at P288 apiece yesterday, up P2 or 0.70% from P286 each on Monday.

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