(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 30, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Ayala-owned AC Energy Holdings Inc. is eyeing to expand its presence in Vietnam, its second regional investment after Indonesia, its top official said yesterday.
In a briefing yesterday, AC Energy president and CEO Eric Francia said the company was also studying other market opportunities within the region.
“While it may take time to strengthen our presence in Indonesia, we have started to look around the Southeast Asia region and we hope to make our second regional investment in about 12 to 18 months,” he said.
Vietnam is the top candidate for its overseas expansion, while the company will be opportunistic in other markets like Myanmar.
“In terms of being systematic, putting our limited resources to work outside the Philippines, it’s really Indonesia first and number two is Vietnam. The rest, it will be opportunistic,” Francia said.
He said investment opportunities are rosy in Vietnam since it has a similar macroeconomic picture with Indonesia and the Philippines.
“The population, the growth potential, the market size, supply-demand outlook—frankly it’s similar to what we have here in the Philippines. Indonesia - its much larger in magnitude because of population. But you have those elements of growth and size, and the infrastructure, supply gap,” Francia said.
The Ayala Group is already present in Vietnam through Manila Water Co. Inc. under local units Thu Duc Water and Kenh Dong Water as well as through infrastructure firm Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Co. (CII).
“Manila Water has a strong platform there. I still sit in CII, an infrastructure company in Vietnam, so we know the market,” Francia said.
Currently, AC Energy is scouting for a local partner and possible technologies to invest in.
“The partner has to be a good local partner with values that are aligned, local capabilities, a good pipeline of projects. We’re flexible in terms of technology. It could be renewable energy, gas, coal or it could be a combination,” Francia said.
“The size we’re looking at, I would prefer to have small mid-size where we can be a more meaningful partner as opposed to a very large platform where we are a financial minority investor,” he added.
This overseas expansion strategy is part of the company’s transformation from Philippine-focused energy investment holding firm to become a regional energy platform with investment, development, operations and retail capability.
“AC Energy is at a critical inflection point. Our transformation is enabled by rapid organic growth and key strategic acquisitions,” Francia said.
So far, AC Energy has sealed a deal with UPC Renewables Indonesia Ltd. to develop a $150-million, 75-megawatt wind power project in Sulawesi, Indonesia which would be developed through PT UPC Sidrap Bayu Energi.