Aboitiz to pursue expansion in 3 ASEAN countries

Published November 9, 2020, 5:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

           While it was initially hamstrung by the niggling health crisis, Aboitiz Power Corporation indicated that it will still advance its planned investment expansion in the Southeast Asian region – specifically in Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar.

           “Starting 2023, we’re looking to pursue our international aspirations in the same countries that we have been considering in the past,” Aboitiz Power President and CEO Emmanuel V. Rubio said.

           He specified that the technology installations being cast on blueprint shall be those on wind, hydro, solar and gas facilities.

           Beyond the group’s power business, Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) President and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz indicated that the next expansion focus will be ASEAN – including for their food subsidiary Pilmico Foods Corporation; as well as investment opportunities on infrastructure projects.

           “We want to do that with the rest of the businesses too — to go out to the ASEAN as far as power is concerned, as far as infra is concerned and broaden our horizons there,” he stressed.

           On the food segment, he emphasized that “we are focused on making food a bigger part of Aboitiz and you know, when you are operating in one country and you have a capex (capital expenditure) of one, and when you’re operating in six or seven countries and you have a capex of one, it’s automatically multiplied by 7 – so, it will be much more opportunities.”

          The AEV chief executive highlighted “all of the businesses are going to contribute into the growth of Aboitiz on how we will recover moving forward.”

          For the conglomerate’s capex next year, AEV Chief Financial Officer Manuel R. Lozano said the group is still in the midst of finalizing strategic plans and budget, hence, a more precise figure would be ready either by mid-December to early part of January.

          He stated though that for the P73 billion capex earmarked this year, the group may just end with P48 billion of spending  – and that entails at least one-third of reduction on their programmed capital outlay.

          “Some of that will be going to spill over to next year. In our business units, we continue to look for growth, so we expect more for new projects,” Lozano expounded.

          For Aboitiz Power, Rubio noted that calculated capex is at P24 billion and this will be funneled mainly to existing and new projects – primarily that of the GNPower Dinginin coal-fired power facility which is due to reach commercial operations next year.

          The rest of the capital outlay will be for the 49 megawatts of energy storage projects for Therma Marine Inc. (TMI) in Mindanao; the 20MW hydropower project of SN Aboitiz Power Inc. (SNAP); and the targeted 67MW floating solar installation, also of SNAP.

          Rubio pointed out “we continue to carry out our initiatives to ensure availability, reliability and efficiency of our power plants and distribution units.”

          “Despite the challenges and uncertainties, our growth strategy for the next 10 years remains the same – to significantly grow our renewables portfolio and shift our overall energy mix into almost 50:50 Cleanergy and thermal capacities by 2030,” he said.

         Aboitiz acknowledged that “this pandemic moved us back three years, and so we’re three years behind and we need to catch up — and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

         The AEV chief executive noted though that the company had taken the pandemic as opportunity “to re-think and accept the changes that we will need to make in the future for the organization and our team members, not only professionally but also personally,” as he opined that “when your team members are ready, when your team members are happy, when your team members are prepared, that’s what is going to make and give you the execution of the plan and make sure that you’re going to go to where you want to go.”