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AboitizPower keen on bid for 630-MW Masinloc plant

MANILA, Philippines —  Aboitiz Power Corp. is aggressively positioning in the bidding for the 630-megawatt (MW) Masinloc power plant in Zambales by American energy giant AES Corp., which is expected to close within the year, its top official said.

The Aboitiz Group, through its power unit, has already expressed interest in acquiring the power asset with AES, AboitizPower president and chief operating officer Antonio Moraza said in an interview with reporters late Wednesday.

We are studying. (It’s) very advanced and everyone else, I’m sure are interested. Any power projects in the Philippines, anything for sale, we will look at,” he said.

The competition will be tight, with already around 15 local and foreign companies interested in acquiring the power asset.

“The interest is very wide — foreign, local. I understand there is more than 15,” Moraza said, noting the interest is hedged on the facilities’ large capacity and expansion potential.

He noted that the transaction is seen to be closed within the year, as AES is keen on selling the facility.

“(On the timeline,) I’m under the impression that before the end of the year,” Moraza said.

In July, reports said AES is selling its controlling stake in the Masinloc power plant which was confirmed by a source who requested anonymity.

The source said AES has already realized gains from its 2008 acquisition and wants to realize “good value” from the sale.

Apart from the existing 630-MW power plant, the 300-MW expansion being built is also up for grabs. AES started the Masinloc expansion at the end of 2015.

As soon as the news broke out, several local power firms expressed interest in participating in the Masinloc power plant sale.

Earlier, Aboitiz Power Corp. CEO Erramon Aboitiz said the Aboitiz Group would also study its participation in the sale as soon as the formal process is announced.

Another power firm, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), is also going to look at the power asset as soon as the process has started. Meralco president Oscar Reyes said any company that would acquire the plant would greatly benefit because it is already an existing power plant.

In particular, this will add value to Meralco’s power generating unit, Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen), which does not have a power plant online yet.

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