By MYRNA M. VELASCO
July 31, 2012, 5:42pm
MANILA, Philippines — Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) will start exploring investment opportunities that may go all the way into prospective investments into other distribution utilities in the region or even other parts globally.
Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan disclosed that the initial plan will be to look at opportunities that can open doors for the company to offer “technical advisory services” to power utilities within Asia.
He stressed that preliminary discussions are being done with several parties, but he did not specify which countries are these.
Asked if the planned offshore venture would go up to the extent of asset acquisition or investments in infrastructure, Pangilinan briefly replied that “it will be eventually.”
Yet he stressed that the initial strategy would be to show the “skills
and competence” of Meralco personnel in running a power distribution “of which systems are comparable to us.”
Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes added that “we are seeing exciting opportunities within and even outside the Philippines,” emphasizing that “the key for us is our ability to integrate these opportunities to our core business.”
He expounded that the company’s plan “will (be) to venture into a project if we are able to robustly deliver highly cost-competitive power, and high service reliability assurance to our customers and acceptable returns to our shareholders.”
Domestically, Meralco is not only expanding its distribution network but is also re-diversifying its venture into power generation.
After its foray into the 600-megawatt Subic coal-fired plant, the company similarly bared capacity expansion of another 300 to 500 megawatts that will also be powered by coal.
The longer-term plan would be to put up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility that will help plug capacity gap into the longer term.
Reyes noted that they have been in discussion with various parties, but the defining factor will be the cost-impact that the project will eventually have on consumers. source