GBPC to ramp up Iloilo investments

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Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC), the power generation business of tycoon George Ty, will set its focus on Iloilo for more power investments.

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According to GBPC, the accelerating economic growth in Iloilo has prompted them to put focus on the expansion of its power plant in the province.

A member of the GT Capital Group of Companies, GBPC owns Panay Energy Development Corp.

Panay Energy originally operated a high-cost 72-megawatt (MW) diesel plant in Barangay Ingore, La Paz in Iloilo City, until its 2011 clean coal plant expansion was completed which made the cost of the power in the region relatively lower.

GBPC Chairman Francisco Sebastian explained that since the completion of the company’s 164-MW clean coal-fired plant in 2011, GBPC has witnessed a resurgence of business and the emergence of new industries in the region.

”Iloilo is bustling with a number of major business and property developments under construction,” Sebastian said, citing several that major projects are being developed in the region.

In light of these major developments, Panay Energy earlier announced that it is building another 150-MW coal-fired power plant in Iloilo, which will start in the middle of the year, with commercial operations programmed by July 2016.

”Based on our plan, this new plant will be in time for the completion of these ongoing development projects. But perhaps more importantly, we hope that this forward looking power plant expansion will encourage more business expansion and new investors to locate in Iloilo and Panay Island,” Sebastian further said.

For her part, Iloilo Business Club (IBC) Executive Director Lea Lara said that while there is no problem with the current power needs of the province, additional power supply is needed by 2015.

”Their [Panay Energy’s] move to produce additional power will give assurance to investors of ongoing multi-billion investments in Iloilo City,” she added.

Sebastian also said GBPC’s expansion will help support the growth in tourism in neighboring Boracay Island in the province of Aklan.

In a bid to boost its power generation portfolio, a business unit of the country’s largest power distributor Manila Electric Co. sealed a deal to acquire a stake in GBPC.

A disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange late last year showed that Meralco PowerGen Corp. (Mgen), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the listed utility firm Meralco, entered into a share sale and purchase agreement with First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) for the acquisition by MGen of FMIC’s 20-percent stake in GBPC. FMIC is the investment banking arm of the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.

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