Tycoons Team Up in Biggest Philippine Energy Deal Since 2008

image is BloomburgMedia_S9SPGLT0AFB400_04-03-2024_06-26-01_638451072000000000.jpg

Power lines and transformers at the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) substation in Quezon City, Metro Manila, the Philippines, on Thursday, July 28, 2022. The Philippines gets about 57% of its electricity from coal, burning the equivalent of 29 million tons of high quality fuel, according to data from BloombergNEF and BP Plc. Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

Three of the Philippines’ most prominent tycoons have joined forces in a $3.3 billion deal that includes the acquisition of a liquefied natural gas facility, in the nation’s biggest energy transaction in more than a decade.

A unit of Manila Electric Co. headed by Manuel Pangilinan said on Sunday that it’s investing in an LNG terminal in Batangas province together with the energy arm of Ramon Ang-led San Miguel Corp. and Aboitiz Power Corp. chaired by Sabin Aboitiz. The terminal, located south of the capital Manila, is owned by Linseed Field Corporation.  

It marks an unlikely grouping among the tycoons that have aggressively competed for power deals. The group said the move, which Pangilinan called a “milestone alliance,” is aligned with the Philippines’ goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030.

Under the deal, Meralco PowerGen Corp. and Aboitiz Power will also invest in San Miguel Global Power’s two gas-fired power plants: the 1,278-megawatt Ilijan power plant and a new 1,320-megawatt combined cycle power facility expected to operate by the end of this year.

The transaction is the country’s largest energy deal since the $3.95-billion privatization of the nation’s power transmission grid in 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It highlights the importance of energy supply in one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies at a time when its main Malampaya gas field - which fuels a fifth of its power plants - will soon be depleted.

The group of billionaire Enrique Razon, which controls Malampaya, earlier partnered with First Gen Corp. on the lease and operation of the latter’s LNG terminal also in Batangas. The government had also cleared other LNG terminal projects as part of efforts to ensure energy sufficiency.

Shares of Aboitiz Power were up nearly 1% by the midday break in Manila trading. Manila Electric dropped 1% and San Miguel shares were unchanged.

(Updates with details details throughout.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

By Andreo Calonzo , Cliff Venzon


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