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Lopez firm allots bulk of capex to energy business

LOPEZ-LED First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPH) is allocating P80 billion for capital expenditures (capex) this year, 75% of which is set aside for its energy arm, its finance chief said on Monday.

Emmanuel Antonio P. Singson, executive vice-president, treasurer, and chief finance officer of FPH, told reporters that about P60 billion of its capex will be for First Gen Corp.; P17 billion for its real estate business including Rockwell Land Corp. and First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP); and the rest for its manufacturing units such as ThermaPrime Drilling Corp. and First Balfour, Inc.

Mr. Singson said FPH’s target spending will be funded through a combination of debt and internally generated funds.

Francis Giles B. Puno, president and chief operating officer of FPH, said the holding firm is vying for more segments of the North–South Commuter Railway via a joint venture with Hong Kong-based Leighton Asia.

“We are hoping that there are additional awards because there are some segments that are not yet awarded. We are still vying for those segments and if that happens then, hopefully, Balfour will be in a situation where they can increase their order book,” he said.

Mr. Puno said that First Balfour’s project for this year will mostly involve infrastructure, railways, and “hopefully, subway, water treatment facilities as well as power plants.”

He said FPIP will remain focused on industrial park operations but will continue to support its transformation into a “resilient and job-centered township.”

“What we will be doing is [the] groundbreaking of a mall that will be located at its gate,” he said, adding that the construction is scheduled by the third quarter of this year with a two-year construction phase.

Meanwhile, in a stock exchange disclosure on Monday, First Gen said state-led Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. had issued a notice of award declaring its wholly owned subsidiary Fresh River Lakes Corp. the winner for the sale of Casecnan hydroelectric power plant in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

Earlier this month, First Gen announced that Fresh River Lakes had been declared the highest bidder of the 165-megawatt Casecnan power plant, which it offered to buy for $526 million. 

Casecnan is expected to contribute to First Gen’s earnings by next year as the acquisition still needs the approval of the Philippine Competition Commission.

“[It] depends on the transfer but hopefully, it’s transferred before the end of the year because it has to go through permits but we hope for it to have full contribution by next year,” Mr. Puno said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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