Thursday, 18 March 2010

First Gen, Ayala, Pangilinan team up for Angat hydropower plant bid

Miguel R. Camus
Business Mirror

A LOPEZ-owned company is teaming up with the Ayala Group and the conglomerate led by Manuel V. Pangilinan to bid the government-owned 246-megawatt (MW) Angat hydroelectric power plant in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

In a filing to stock exchange on Wednesday, Lopez-led First Gen Corp., through subsidiary First Gen Northern Energy Corp., signed on to be partners with Ayala Corp. and Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) for the said auction.

The three companies will each own a third of First Gen Northern Energy.

Ayala Corp and MPIC, which jointly announced their bid for the Angat power plant two months ago, withdrew their original proposal through Michigan Power Inc. yesterday before joining the Lopezes.

This latest move is seen to strengthen the bid of both Ayala Corp. and MPIC, which have deep pockets but “lacking in expertise” when it comes to the power generation sector, an analyst said.

First Gen, considered the country’s largest power generation firm, operates that 1,000-MW Santa Rita power plant, the 500-MW San Lorenzo power plant, the 112-MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric plant, among others.

It is also the parent company of listed Energy Development Corp., the Philippines’ largest producer of geothermal energy.

If successful, the Angat hydropower plant will mark MPIC and Ayala Corp.’s debut into power generation.

As this developed, the three companies have already subscribed to 250,000 common shares of First Gen Northern Energy, giving each partner 33.3-percent ownership.

Commissioned between 1967 and 1968 the Angat hydroelectric power plant consists of four main units, with a 50-MW capacity each. The plant draws its water from Angat Dam, which supplies up to 97 percent of Metro Manila’s water supply.

The state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. or Psalm has set the pre-bid conference on  February 17, while the bid submission deadline has been scheduled on April 28.

Analysts earlier said both Ayala Corp. and MPIC are interested to bid for Angat to safeguard interests in water distribution in the National Capital Region.  

Ayala Corp., through subsidiary Manila Water Co Inc., supplies the capital’s east zone, while west zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. is controlled by MPIC and DMCI Holdings Inc.

Other large groups which have signified interest in bidding for the Angat facility include San Miguel Corp. and Aboitiz Power Corp.

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