As published on Manila Bulletin
MRC Allied, Inc., a firm controlled by Menlo Capital Corporation of Benjamin Bitanga and Lucio Tan Jr., is investing P80 billion to P100 billion for its transformation into a power company from a real estate and mining concern.
“In line with our vision to be one of the major players in the Philippine power industry, we plan to develop at least 1,000 megawatts of clean and renewable energy by 2022,” said MRC Allied President Gladys Nalda during the firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting.
Nalda added they will be building or buying power plants at the rate of 200MW a year for the next five years and that, “for this year, we have an aggregate of 160 megawatts solar capacity in our pipeline.”
MRC Allied is pursuing two solar power projects, 60 MW in its Naga, Cebu township estimated to cost P3.3 billion and 100MW in the Clark Green City at a cost of P5.5 billion.
Other than these, Nalda said they will also pursue other renewable energy projects using biomass, geothermal, hydro, ocean and wind energies. They may also pursue a liquid natural gas project since the size will allow them to easily hit their 1,000MW target.
To speed up the growth in the company’s generating capacity, Nalda said they are also considering the acquisition of the growing number of so-called orphaned RE plants or those that have not been granted preferential feed-in tariff rates.
“But we expect these to be sold at a discount,” said Nalda adding that their two solar power projects can be profitable even with no FIT rates since these will supply locators in ecozones. This is also thanks to the 50 percent drop in the cost of solar panels from $2 million per MW to $1 million.
Meanwhile, Nalda said they will raise an initial P2 billion to fund their projects’ pre-development costs. MRC Allied is aiming to raise P1 billion from the sale of preferred shares and another P1 billion from a private placement of shares to interested investors.
She said they are currently talking to several prospective investors who are interested in their solar projects and should be able to close deals with at least two, one foreign and one Filipino, investors.
“We just need to invest a small amount for pre-development and can then easily borrow the project cost since we only have to show the banks how viable these projects will be,” she explained.
Nalda said MRC Allied is also planning to spin off its real estate and mining assets into two special purpose vehicles with all real estate in one SPV and all mining interests in another SPV.
“This will allow us to focus on energy projects,” she said adding they intend to just hold on to these SPVs and have no plans to divest as of now.