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Gotianuns eye LNG plants

by Jenniffer B. Austria
[ ] May 28-29, 2011

Filinvest Development Corp., the holding company of tycoon Andrew Gotianun Sr., plans to build four liquefied natural gas power plants with a combined capacity of between 1,600 and 1,800 megawatts in several parts of the country.

Filinvest Development president Josephine Gotianun-Yap told shareholders the four power plants, which will be built by unit FDC Utilities Inc., would rise in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“This investment will form the third leg of the FDC conglomerate within the next five years,” Gotianun-Yap said.

FDC Utilities president Jesus Alcordo said the investment in LNG power plants would cost an estimated $1 million to $1.1 million per megawatt.

Alcordo said the conglomerate decided to put up LNG gas power plants because they were cheaper to construct and more environment-friendly due to lesser carbon dioxide emission. He said the power plants could be operational between 2014 and 2015.

Alcordo said the conglomerate was investing in the power sector in anticipation of increased electricity demand in the country’s three major islands.

FDC Utilities is in talks with LNG gas suppliers in Australia and other neighboring countries. Alcordo said FDC expects to finalize the supply contract by next month.

Gotianun-Yap said the company was in talks with potential partners and several banks to finance the projects. Filinvest Development plans to use part of its cash to fund the projects.

“For this type of project, it is usually 80-20, which means that 80 percent of project cost will be financed through borrowing,” Gotianun-Yap said.

Filinvest Development has investments in real estate, banking and sugar businesses.

The conglomerate in 2010 posted a net income of P4.9 billion, up 79 percent from P2.7 billion in 2009, on the strong performance of core businesses. Consolidated revenues increased 37 percent to P22 billion from P16 billion in 2009.

The company’s board in November approved an equity fund raising to widen the company’s public float and finance investments in power generation. Filinvest Development postponed the plan due to the volatility of the market in the early part of 2011.

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