Meralco seeks partners for major SEA projects

By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 28 2013 08:06 AM | Updated as of Jan 28 2013 04:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, is eyeing to tap other strategic partners in Southeast Asia aside from Vietnam for possible business opportunities, a ranking official said.

“We’re looking at a number of countries. We’d like to partner with strong credible strategic partners. They may be partners in those countries or if there’s an opportunity to partner with a local player, we will consider that,” Meralco president Oscar Reyes said in a recent interview.

He said the potential projects abroad would not only enhance Meralco’s profitability and strengthen its business but would also showcase Philippine players.

“It will give Philippine players the opportunity to be recognized and accepted as a credible player overseas and at the same time help generation additional revenues for the economy,” Reyes said.

Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in October that the company is interested in looking at business opportunities in Vietnam through prospective Vietnamese partners.

“I think we’d take modest steps in Vietnam. Of course the numbers (have) to work for us, so as of the moment, we have no clue as to what numbers will work. But the arrangements seem to be quite reasonable because the power will be bought by the government through EVN (VietNam Electricity),” Pangilinan had said.

Meralco was initially looking at projects with a capacity that would range between 150 megawatts (MW) and 600 MW.

Pangilinan also said that the distribution utility would want to have a “significant minority interest” in the partnerships because Meralco is still new in that country.

Meralco expects 2013 to be a better year for the company and is hopeful that it met its net income target of P16 billion for 2012.

While he did not disclose Meralco’s net income target for 2013, Pangilinan earlier said it is expected to be higher than 2012’s P16 billion profit goal.

In terms of sales volume, Pangilinan has said this would be largely dependent on economic growth.