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Filinvest sets P44-billion capex

Posted on May 01, 2016 09:06:00 PM []
By Krista A. M. Montealegre, Senior Reporter

FILINVEST Development Corp. (FDC) is hiking its capital expenditure (capex) budget by nearly half this year, mainly to support the expansion of its real estate and power generation businesses.
One of Filinvest Development Corp.’s projects, Filinvest City is an urban center and central business district in Alabang. -- FILINVESTCITY.COM

FDC Investor Relations Officer Ana Regina A. Santillan told reporters last week that the Gotianun-led conglomerate set an investment program of P44 billion, higher than the roughly P30 billion spent in 2015.

“We feel there are still supplementary areas of growth, but we will still continue to be on the lookout for opportunities,” said FDC President and Chief Executive Officer Lourdes Josephine Gotianun-Yap.

More than half of the capex budget will be earmarked for its real estate business through Filinvest Land, Inc. and Filinvest Alabang, Inc. and about 35% will be allotted for its power business through FDC Utilities, Inc., Ms. Santillan said. The balance will fund the expansion of the banking, hotels and sugar businesses.

With its 405-megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant in Misamis Oriental close to commissioning, FDC is taking a “conservative” approach in the power sector amid possible policy changes, as the country elects a new president this month.

“All the industry players are looking. There is a change of administration. Regulatory policies could change. We’ll figure out where the opportunities are and if an opportunity presents itself, we will go for it,” FDC Chairman Jonathan T. Gotianun said.

The conglomerate brushed aside concerns of oversupply particularly in Mindanao, adding that a significant amount of the power plant’s capacity has been taken up, Mr. Gotianun said.

FDC continues to explore possible investments in hydropower even as the renewable energy space may be getting “crowded,” he said.

Last year, the power generation business made its first significant contribution to the conglomerate with the initial recognition of electricity sales from its independent power producer administrator contracts with the 40-megawatt (MW) Unified Leyte Geothermal Plant and the 108.5-MW Apo Geothermal Power Plant in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

FDC will see its coal-fired facility in Misamis Oriental contributing to earnings this year with the commissioning of all three units of the facility this year, Mr. Gotianun said.

The Filinvest Group plans to “carve out” and put up a separate holding company for its hotel business once it achieves a certain scale, FDC officials said.

“We could raise money, whatever form, so it could be a distinct entity on hotel. We will have to see how things go but first we have to make it substantial,” Mr. Gotianun said.

The company is upbeat it can hit its target to have a network of 5,000 hotels room by 2020, up from over 1,000 rooms last year.

Filinvest is building a thousand hotel rooms across the Crismon, Canvas and Quest hotel brands in Boracay, Mactan, Cubao, Tagaytay and Dumaguete, Ms. Yap said.

Shares in FDC were unchanged at P5.45 each on Friday.

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