Aboitiz Power eyeing to snag bank loan for Subic, Davao plants by yearend means BUSINESS

MANILA - Aboitiz Power Corp. hopes to complete talks with banks within the year for loans that will bankroll the construction of its coal-fired facilities in Luzon and Mindanao.

Stephen Paradies, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. chief finance officer, told reporters late Thursday that the company's power unit is eyeing financing worth as much as P60 billion at the project level for its coal plants in Subic and Davao.

The amount represents about 70-75 percent of the budgeted capital expenditure for the projects, with the balance to be sourced from an equity infusion.

"These things are very complicated. Banks do a lot of due diligence. We may be able to close one before the end of the year, hopefully two," said Paradies.

AP will tap P36 billion to P40 billion in loans for the 600-megawatt coal plant in Subic, a joint venture with Manila Electric Co. and Taiwan Cogeneration through Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. The project will cost $1.2 billion.

Through wholly owned unit Therma South Inc., AP is undertaking the construction of the 300-megawatt coal plant in Davao at a cost of $650 million. The debt component of the project is P18 billion to P20 billion.

AP also is eyeing project financing for the 400-megawatt expansion of its coal-fired plant in Pagbilao, Quezon. Cost per megawatt is pegged at $2 million, Paradies said.

AP accounted for 79 percent of AEV's net income in the first half. The power unit's earnings contribution rose by 16 percent to P9.4 billion in the first semester because of a 7-percent increase in average selling prices and 10-percent hike in net generation.