FPHC triples 2021 capex to P50B

Published May 21, 2021, 4:01 PM

by James A. Loyola

First Philippine Holdings Corporation, the investment arm of the Lopez Group of Companies, is more than tripling its capital expenditures budget this year to P50 billion from the P15 billion actually spent in 2020.

During the firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting, FPHC President Francis Giles Puno said the bulk of the capex will be spent by power subsidiary First Gen Corporation.

About P15 billion is allotted for FPHC’s real estate units with Rockwell Land Corporation getting a P14 billion budget this year while First Philippine Industrial Park will be spending P1 billion. A total of P9 billion is being allocated for FPHC’s other businesses.

Despite the setbacks due to the pandemic, Puno said “we witnessed a positive upturn in the last quarter of 2020. Economic activity and the overall operations of the group eventually ramped up when the government relaxed its guidelines and policies on quarantine restrictions.”

“As such, during the last quarter of 2020, the operating results of some of our companies were at par or even better than their results from pre-COVID periods,” he noted.

The projects of First Balfour and Thermaprime, which were halted during last year’s lockdown period, have been greenlit and are now ramping up. First Philec’s manufacturing line is also back to full plant capacity.

“One key growth area of focus through First Gen is in developing its liquefied natural gas or LNG terminal. The plan requires modifying First Gen’s existing jetty facilities in Batangas to enable LNG to be shipped to the country from anywhere in the world and regasify the LNG molecules via a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU),” said Puno.

He added that, “Our planned interim offshore terminal remains on track for completion in the 3rd quarter of 2022. Not only has DOE granted us the Permit to Construct, First Gen also awarded the turnkey construction contract to McConnell Dowell of Australia.”

Meanwhile, Puno said “This year, we accomplished a major milestone by awarding to BW Gas Ltd of Norway a 10-year charter contract to provide us with the floating storage and regas shipping vessel to be permanently moored at our jetty sometime in the fourth quarter of next year.”

“And while we prioritize the construction works in the jetty modification, we are hopeful that we can also finalize the LNG molecule supply necessary for the continued reliable operations of our power plants beyond Malampaya,” Puno said.