Fil-Aussie group makes winning bid for Masinloc plant at $561M
By LENIE LECTURA
The first major power-generating asset of the National Power Corp. (NPC) has been successfully sold to a Filipino-Australian consortium for $561.74 million, it was learned Wednesday.
YNN Pacific Consortium Inc. submitted the highest bid for the 600-megawatt coal-fired Masinloc power plant in Masinloc, Zambales.
It is the sixth power plant to be successfully privatized through bidding by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (Psalm).
“This is certainly a high point in our power privatization efforts. The road to Masinloc’s privatization was long and arduous, but the decisions made along the way worked to enhance competition as well as the integrity of the process. The level of interest in Masinloc was matched by the respectable bid offers for the plant,” said Psalm vice chairman and concurrent Energy Secretary Vincent Perez Jr.
The coal-fired plant was sold as a merchant plant, that is, without an attached supply contract. Perez said, “The successful bidding despite the absence of an electricity supply contract only emphasizes the investor interest in Masinloc. . .We are now geared up for the privatization of other large assets and decommissioned plants next year.”
Finance Secretary and Psalm board chairman Juanita Amatong said she has high hopes the NPC will make a financial turn around soon with the help of proceeds from the sale of power assets.
Budget Secretary and PBAC member Emilia Boncodin also said the “outcome shows that investor outlook is positive. We had expectations for Masinloc, as it is one of the country’s biggest power plants, and we’re pleased with the results.”
The Masinloc plant was sold free of debt. The investor pays 40 percent at the time of any deal and the remaining 60 percent over a seven-year period.
Last month, Psalm bid out the 1.2-megawatt [MW] Loboc hydroelectric plant [HEP] in Bohol to Sta. Clara International for $1.42 million. In September, the 0.4 MW Cawayan HEP in Sorsogon was awarded to Sorsogon II Electric Cooperative, Inc. for $410,410.
During the first half of the year, Psalm also bid out the Talomo HEP in Davao to Aboitiz-owned Hydro Electric Development Corporation for $1.37 million, while the Lopez energy firm First Generation Holdings gave the highest bid for the Agusan HEP with an offer of $1.5 million.
Barit HEP in Camarines Sur was bid out for S$ 480,000 to Ramon I. Constancio, a US-based Filipino lawyer.
Psalm president Raphael Lotilla said, meanwhile, they would no longer allow local firms to match the winning bids of foreign firms in the sale of the other 27 power plants slated for disposal.
Lotilla said foreign firms had complained about that rule. “The removal of this provision is expected to enhance further investor interest in the assets to be privatized.”
Psalm vice president Froilan Tampinco said they would be able to sell only 20 percent of NPC’s generating assets by the end of this year. Psalm had wanted to sell at least a third of the NPC’s generating assets by the end of this year.
Tampinco said the sale of the Bataan and Limay power facilities would be re-scheduled next year. “After Masinloc, we were supposed to put on the auction block the Bataan and Limay plants this year. There is a delay because we are experiencing land issue problems with Bataan. Meanwhile, we have yet to conclude renegotiation of the Limay power contract.”