First Gen subsidiary obtains P2.8-B loan

Published December 2, 2021, 4:08 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Prime Meridian Powergen Corporation (PMPC), a subsidiary of Lopez-led First Gen Corporation, has secured P2.8 billion worth of loans from two local banks.

As disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the lender-banks have been the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and ING Bank N.V. – Manila Branch. The loan has a three-year maturity period.

“The proceeds from the loans will be primarily used to fund the general and corporate working capital requirements of PMPC, which owns and operates the 97-megawatt Avion dual-fired open cycle gas turbine power plant,” First Gen noted.

The company’s Avion plant, in particular, caters to the peaking capacity needs of the power system, and it proved to be a dependable generating asset especially if there is tightening of supply in the Luzon grid.

In many instances during peak-demand summer months, when the biggest power grid of Luzon wobbled on to power service interruptions, the Avion plant had been constantly depended upon for additional supply in the system.

According to First Gen, “this is the first term loan of PMPC and it is reflective of the Avion power plant’s strong and stable cash flows since starting operations in 2016.”

The power firm qualified that “the combined debt facilities totaling P2.8 billion is a testimony to the strong support and continuing confidence of our lenders in First Gen’s natural gas business.”

First Gen President and COO Francis Giles B. Puno said it was the Lopez firm that pioneered the development of gas-fired power generating facilities in the Philippines roughly 24 years ago. Puno said this is a continuing investment platform that the company has been latching onto.

From spearheading projects that underpinned the development of the country’s gas market, First Gen is also into another trailblazing venture that will mark the rebirth of the domestic gas industry. This will be its venture in offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility to be sited in Batangas with targeted for commercial operations next year.

“The natural gas platform now stands at 2,017MW and we are working hard to deliver the country’s first interim offshore LNG terminal project, as well as additional natural gas-fired power plants,” Puno said.

Given the company’s continuing projects, the First Gen executive accorded appreciation to its lenders who “continue to be supportive of our endeavors to deliver clean and cost-efficient power to Filipinos.”