Ayala Corp. ramps up energy investments

By , on March 14, 2016


MANILA—Conglomerate Ayala Corp. (AC) is looking for further opportunities in renewable energy, as it continues to aggressively invest in power generation and make it a new growth platform over the next few years.

“We are committed to continue a lot of the investments that we have planned, particularly in power… We exceeded our target already in terms of net income in 2015 but it doesn’t mean the work stops. We have a lot of projects in our plate,” Paolo Borromeo, group head at AC’s Corporate Strategy and Development, told reporters.

Borromeo said they are continuously on the lookout for more opportunities, particularly in wind and other renewable-related projects.

AC chief finance officer Jose Teodoro Limcaoco said Ayala has set aside Php22 billion to Php23 billion in capital spending at the parent level mainly to fund its pipeline of power generation projects this year.

Limcaoco said half of the amount has been earmarked for the 552-megawatt (MW) thermal facility in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

He added ground-clearing operations had started for the power plant in Dinginin, Mariveles, Bataan.

In conventional energy, the second 135-MW unit of its thermal plant, South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation in Calaca, Batangas, also started commercial operations in February.

AC Energy has an attributable capacity of 600 MW in its portfolio among conventional and renewable power projects currently in operations and under construction.

It expects this capacity to reach close to 1,000 MW by 2016 once the first phase of its 660-megawatt GN Power plant in Dinginin, Bataan reaches financial close.

Limcaoco noted the roll-out of AC Energy Holdings’ power plants in Bataan and Batangas will allow the group to more than double its recurring income for energy this year.

At the group level, Ayala has earmarked Php174 billion in combined capital expenditures primarily to support the growth strategy of its real estate and telecommunication units this year.

The amount is 34 percent higher than the group’s Php130- billion actual spending in 2015, he said.

“We think the momentum is there, the economy is in great shape, the people are very positive. We like the consumer confidence. We are bullish on 2016 and we don’t see why we should be worried,” he added.

Further, Borromeo stressed that bulk or 90 percent of the group’s businesses are located in the Philippines, with only 10 percent abroad.

“For us moving forward, we recognized we are still overweight on the Philippines but we are making a more conscious effort to go internationally. Our focus would primarily be in Southeast Asia across all our business units,” he said.

In 2015, the conglomerate booked a 20-percent rise in profit to Php22.3 billion, beating its target a year earlier than planned. This was mainly driven by the solid performance of its real estate and telecommunications businesses and lifted by contributions from its power generation unit.

AC has portfolio of diverse business interests, including real estate, telecommunications, banking, water, electronics manufacturing, energy and infrastructure, education and healthcare.