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Property firm MRC Allied forays into clean energy generation

As published on Inquirer

Listed MRC Allied Inc. is reinventing itself as a power company, revealing on Friday an ambitious plan to build up a portfolio of 1,000 megawatts (MW) of “clean and renewable” energy by 2022. Gladys Nalda, newly appointed CEO and president of MRC, told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual meeting late Friday that they were prepared to spend anywhere from P80 billion to P100 billion during this period to invest in power sources such as solar and liquefied natural gas (LNG).So far, the company has a total of 160 MW solar power projects in its pipeline. These are the 60-MW Naga Solar Project within its township property in Cebu and a 100-MW project in Clark Green City, Pampanga.

The company expects earnings contributions from its power ventures to start around 2019, Nalda said.

MRC’s main assets are in property and mining, and it listed no revenue sources and profits since 2014. It posted a net loss of P65.8 million in 2016.

Nalda said the company was counting on the support of its main shareholder, an investment holding company called Menlo Capital Corp., which owns 52 percent of MRC. Menlo’s shareholders include Lucio Tan Jr., son of taipan Lucio Tan, and Benjamin Bitanga, MRC’s former president.

Nalda, former vice president for legal and corporate services at PNOC Renewable Corp., said the company was also open to partnerships with other groups to reach its goal.

“We are open to so many business models, with the help of our investors and consultants,” she said.

For 2017, MRC would be targeting to raise about P2 billion from a private placement transaction and preferred share sale, she said.

Nalda said the timing was right to enter the renewable power sector, although the decision traces its roots to 2015 following a “planning session” on its future direction and strategy.

MRC cited increasing demand for power, declining costs of renewable power technology, and the potential to acquire existing power plants.

Nalda said MRC has yet to identify the specific mix of power sources.

“We want to do everything that’s clean, not necessarily [renewable energy],” she said, noting that LNG was a big opportunity.

“It’s challenging because there is no existing big LNG developer,” she added. “With LNG alone, the 1,000 [MW] is easy.”

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