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GBPC mulls first Luzon power project

(The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC), the power generation company of banking tycoon George Ty, is preparing to expand outside Visayas with its first power venture in Luzon in 2016.

GBPC executive vice president Jaime Azurin said the company is keen on expanding in Luzon.

A coal-fired power plant with capacity of at least 600 megawatts (MW) is being eyed, which could happen “next year,” he said.

“We’re looking at Luzon. We’re looking at coal but it has to be bigger in size to be able to lower the cost,” Azurin said.

The company official, however, declined to identify the possible location of the power project “because a lot of people are looking for a safe spot.”

But Azurin noted GBPC will be working with power distribution giant Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) for the Luzon project.

In October 2013, Meralco PowerGen Corp., a subsidiary of Meralco, bought a 20-percent stake in GBPC from First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) for P7.5 billion.

The entry of Meralco in the Ty power unit “opens a lot of doors” for expansion, particularly in Luzon, said Carmelo Maria Luz Bautista, president of GBPC’s parent firm GT capital.

MGen bought an additional two percent from FMIC in May 2014, raising its interest to 22 percent. Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan had said MGen could raise its stake up to 50 percent “if the opportunity arises.”

Apart from MGen, shareholders of GBPC include Ty-led conglomerate GT Capital Holdings Inc. with 50.89 percent; Orix Corp.of Japan with 20 percent; and FMIC with 7.11 percent.

GBPC is one of the largest independent power producers in the Visayas region, with a total capacity of 627 MW from its nine power plants.

Last year, GBPC laid down a $1-billion investment plan to increase its installed capacity to 1,000 MW by 2018.

Apart from the Luzon project, company officials said the firm is looking at a 164-MW plant with MGen in Mindanao.

It is also working on the 150-MW expansion of the coal-fired power plant owned by subsidiary Panay Energy Development Corp., targeted for completion in July 2016.

ACIRC BUT AZURIN CAPITAL HOLDINGS INC CARMELO MARIA LUZ BAUTISTA FIRST METRO INVESTMENT CORP GBPC GEORGE TY GLOBAL BUSINESS POWER CORP LUZON MERALCO POWER
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