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MRC Allied to buy six more renewable-energy developers

As published on BusinessMirror

MRC Allied Inc. is eyeing to acquire a significant stake in six more renewable-energy (RE) developers soon, following the successful acquisition of a 15-percent stake in a 50-megawatt (MW) solar project in Leyte.

“We are evaluating at least six more. They are all RE firms. We are confident we can close one to two more before the year ends,” MRC Allied President Gladys Nalda said in an interview after the company’s special stockholders’ meeting on Wednesday.

The listed firm acquired a 15-percent stake in the Sulu Electric Power and Light Philippines Inc. (Sepalco) solar project in Palo, Leyte.

MRC’s entry in Sepalco marks one of the many investments the company has lined up in the coming years as it continuously diversifies into the energy sector.

Touted as the biggest solar project in Region 8, the Sepalco solar project has been operating since last year.

“This will complete MRC Allied’s 200-MW target for 2017 and, since it’s an operational plant, we shall take an active role in the management of the power plant,” Nalda said.

There are plans, she added, to increase MRC Allied’s interest in Sepalco up to 51 percent.

“We want a majority control of Sepalco,” Nalda said. “We made a commitment to help improve their financial operations so we can acquire a bigger stake.”

MRC Allied’s investment in Sepalco costs P255 million, according to Nalda.

“We still have to polish the terms of payment,” she added. “If it can be done, we can partly source form the private placement.”

Sepalco, which lies on a 70-hectare property in Palo, Leyte, has a total of 188 solar panels and is connected to the existing 69 kilovolt transmission line of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) in the province.

The solar project is designed for 25 years, boosting its potential as a major solar provider in the country in the coming years.

During Wednesday’s meeting, shareholders approved the change in MRC’s primary purpose from a property company to become a 100-percent energy company.

MRC will now be able “to develop, design, construct, operate, maintain, buy, acquire, sell, import and export renewable and clean energy equipment, systems, power plants and technologies that produce electricity from renewable and clean energy resources, such as, but not limited to, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, liquefied natural gas and other clean and renewable-energy sources.”

As a diversified company, MRC Allied has also been strengthening its structure. The company has taken in former Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla and former National Electrification Administration (NEA) Administrator Edita Bueno as new members of its board of directors.

Shareholders, likewise, approved an increase in the number of board directors to nine from seven at present.

“We currently have seven directors and since we have to ensure that we beef up the team with industry experts and a bigger team, we shall increase the number of directors to nine from seven, this is to ensure that we strengthen our corporate governance and improve our corporate structure.” Nalda said.

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