Marubeni mulls RE foray, industrial estate development in Philippines

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Japanese trading giant Marubeni is mulling an industrial estate comeback in the Philippines, while also exploring possible ventures into the renewable energy (RE) space.

Marubeni Philippines Corp. president and CEO Shigeru Shimoda told The STAR in an interview that the company is considering a potential return in the development of industrial estates, a decade after divesting its stake in a Batangas industrial park.

“Industrial estate...we sold our share in Lima 10 years ago to Aboitiz,” Shimoda said.

Marubeni has developed high-quality industrial parks across Asia.

In 2014, Aboitiz Land bought out Marubeni’s 40-percent stake in Lima Land, owner and operator of the Lima Technology Center in Batangas.

Lima Technology Center was the second industrial park project that Marubeni embarked on in the Philippines, with the First Cavite Industrial Estate being the first.

Aside from industrial estates, Shimoda said another interesting segment in the Philippines at present is RE.

“(We are) still studying because we are transferring from the coal-fired power plants to renewable energy,” Shimoda said.

The company, in particular, is seeing possible opportunities in floating solar and offshore wind projects.

“I will not say it’s most attractive but in reality floating solar. We don’t have to compete with the farmers and the land. So floating solar or offshore wind,” he said.

Marubeni, which has operated in the Philippines as a trading company since 1909, reiterated its dedication to expanding investments in the renewable energy, water, transportation, and infrastructure sectors of the Philippines during President Marcos’ official visit to Tokyo in February last year.

With its rich history of business in the country through Marubeni Philippines, the company has been actively involved in various infrastructure projects, including collaborations with the DMCI Group of the Consunji family.

This partnership extends to projects such as the LRT Line 2 East Extension Project, Maynilad Water Services Inc. consortium, and recent initiatives in reforestation and plantation development in Negros Occidental.

In power, Marubeni has 50 percent ownership of Team Energy Corp., which operates the 1,218-megawatt (MW) coal-fired Sual power station in Pangasinan and the 735-MW coal-fired Pagbilao power station in Quezon. It also holds stakes in San Roque Power Corp., Ingrid Power Holdings and in Shin Clark Power Holdings.

“Since then, our business track record has been changing. Currently, our largest investment here in the Philippines is power generation, second maybe water and transport,” Shimoda said.

“Our target is to grow into the new business field,” he said.

Last year, Marubeni invested in the Philippine healthcare sector through a joint venture offering IVF (in vitro fertilization)-related services.

Marubeni and DMCI Homes are also investing around P15 billion for their real estate joint venture project called The Valeron Tower, a 55-story residential condominium in Pasig City that is targeted for completion by 2029.

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