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A Brown to develop P17-B projects

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 22, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Publicly listed A. Brown Co. Inc. is looking to develop P17-billion worth of projects encompassing the energy, real estate and agribusiness sectors over the next five years.

A. Brown executive chairman Walter W. Brown said bulk of the projects amounting to about P14.5 billion would form part of its energy business which consists already of both traditional and renewable power projects as well as oil and gas exploration.

The holding firm of the Brown Group of Companies also intends to strengthen its young bulk water business through recently formed subsidiary AB Bulk Water Co. Inc.

A. Brown is planning to submit an unsolicited proposal to the Municipality of Opol, Misamis Oriental to address its needs for a reliable and sustainable water supply system.

More than P1 billion worth of projects, meanwhile, are expected to beef up the company’s real estate portfolio while about P1 billion worth of projects are seen coming in for its agribusiness composed of palm oil plantation, milling and refinery.

Brown said the projects would be financed through a combination of self-generated equity, joint ventures and partnerships, as well as project financing.

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Brown said the diversified company expects to perform better this year than it did the previous year as several power plants are scheduled to come on stream by the fourth quarter and early 2016.

The firm’s palm oil plantation and refinery in Northern Mindanao is also expected to contribute significantly to the firm’s bottomline as more mature fruits are processed and sold, Brown said.

For its 2014 fiscal year, A. Brown returned to profitability with a net income of P39.6 million following the previous year’s net loss of P1.6 million.

The company also booked 35-percent higher revenues year-on-year at P738 million.

Roel Z. Castro, president of subsidiary Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC),  said the first unit of its 2x135-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Concepcion, Iloilo is set to be fully operational by early 2016—two months ahead of its original schedule—while planning for a second unit is ongoing.

Castro said a 10.4-MW power facility in Bukidnon would also start operations by the second half of next year.

He said other power projects on the pipeline include a 15-MW and a 5-MW expansion in General Santos and San Francisco, respectively, and the 25-MW Carac-an Hydroelectric Project in Surigao del Sur.

Meanwhile, palm oil unit A Brown Energy and Resources Development, Inc. started commercial operations last month of its refinery which has a capacity of 60 metric tons per day.

“While we experienced some delays in 2014, we’re confident that our expansion and diversification efforts will bear fruit in 2015,” A. Brown president Robertino Pizarro said.

For its property business, Brown said the company plans to expand its horizons outside the high-end, master-planned communities which it currently has in Northern Mindanao.

Brown said the firm is setting its sights on middle income and socialized housing projects in Cagayan de Oro, Butuan City, Valencia and Malaybalay cities in Bukidnon, Toril, Davao City and Tanay, Rizal to take advantage of the three million supply backlog in the country’s housing segments.

Brown added plans of exporting the company’s master-planning expertise following an invitation from the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in the Pacific to develop projects in the territory.

“We’re studying this project seriously,” he said.

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