By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 6, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co.., the country’s largest power distributor, is looking to add another distribution utility (DU) in Nigeria, Africa under its wing within the year, its top official said.
Meralco president Oscar Reyes said the company is in discussions for a possible partnership with another Nigerian DU which could “potentially’ happen this year.
“There’s another DU in Nigeria who asked us to be a technical partner as well. This will be an addition to Ibadan,” he said.
He was referring to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Co. Plc., which Meralco took over with its partner Lagos-based Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd. in November 2013.
The IEDM-led consortium tapped Meralco as technical partner for two power firms privatized by the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The other power firm is Yola Electricity Distribution Co. Plc.
Meralco has taken a five-percent equity in IEDM, amounting to $31.500 and has the option to increase its stake to 20 percent.
Meralco continues to scout for other DUs overseas to provide its technical expertise in power distribution, Reyes said.
The company president said overseas expansion will allow Meralco to bring its power retailer brand outside the Philippines, as well as provide more opportunities to its workforce.
“In terms of DU (acquisition), actually, it’s low investment, it’s mainly people. The reason we’re having a DU, look at other areas is because it provides pipeline opportunities for people of Meralco as well as graduates of engineer who maybe enticed to take up electrical engineering which has been declining in terms of number of students, we’d like to revive that,” Reyes said.
Apart from Nigeria, Meralco has presence in Singapore through the purchase of a 70-percent stake in an 800-megawatt liquefied natural gas project of GMR Energy (Singapore) for $488 million in April 2015.
The acquisition was through its subsidiary PowerGen Corp., which formed a joint venture firm with First Pacific Company Ltd. called FPM Power Holdings Ltd. . The remaining 30 percent is owned by Petronas.
In 2015, Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan said the company is eyeing to tap business opportunities in Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam through its subsidiary Meralco PowerGen. No developments have progressed in this endeavor yet.