Korean firm wants 'deal' with Meralco

By Max V. de Leon, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jun 19 2012 07:43 AM | Updated as of Jun 19 2012 05:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Korea’s LS Group has expressed interest in partnering with the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) in putting up a more efficient power-distribution system here, as well as in providing charging stations for electric-vehicle users.

Trade Undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio said LS Group officials led by its chairman John Koo, a member of the founding family of the LG Group, recently met with him and other officials of the Department of Trade and Industry to inquire into possible business prospects in the country.

Panlilio said the Korean firm is particularly interested in having a joint project with Meralco in the development of a smart grid in the Philippines.

“This technology is envisioned to lead to, among other things, more efficient demand-side management of power, zero incidence of overloading and tripping, bi-direction of energy flows and provide room for the progressive introduction of renewable energy into the grid,” Panlilio said.

LS Group, he said, is a spin-off of the giant LG conglomerate, and is the 13th- largest business group in Korea today. The group is Korea’s leading supplier of a wide range of products, solutions and services in the field of cable, electric power and automation solution, and energy. Its consolidated revenues in 2011 registered $25 billion, and it currently maintains over 100 subsidiaries, with operations in 52 countries.

Its subsidiary LS Industrial Systems offers integrated technologies and services on electric vehicle (EV) components and charging infrastructure. The company, which supplies EV components to Renault, GM, Ford, Volkswagen and Hyundai, also made a presentation on viable EV charging infrastructure models at the 2nd Electric Vehicle Summit held at the Meralco compound last month.

There are now small independent players in the country that are engaged in the conversion and assembly of electric jeepneys and electric tricycles.

Aside from the LS Group, commercial counselor Nic Bautista, who heads the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Seoul, also brought in officials of S&T Motiv, formerly a subsidiary of the Daewoo Group. S&T Motiv is a major manufacturer of electric motorcycles and EV components.

“With the technical know-how of our foreign partners, the prospect for the Philippine electric vehicle industry is huge since we have talented and competitive work force, and the manufacturing capacity and capability,” Panlilio said.

Panlilio also said the passage of the bill related to alternative fuel-powered automobiles would ensure production and trade of electric vehicles viable in the country. This bill provides fiscal incentive such as exemption from import duties and excise tax, and Board of Investment incentives.