• Meralco sees no gain from Singapore

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    The country’s biggest power distributor, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), said that it doesn’t expect any sales and profit contributions from its business venture in Singapore, since GMR Energy (Singapore) Pte Ltd. is only expected to start operations still by the end of this year.

    Oscar Reyes, Meralco president, said on Tuesday that the company expects to see gains from the acquisition of a 70-percent interest with First Pacific Ltd. in GMR Energy only next year.

    GMR Energy is building an 800-megawatt liquefied natural gas plant in Singapore.

    “In terms of Pacific Power, which is the new name of [the Singapore firm], there will be benign contribution this year. We will see full results next year,” he said.

    Meralco reported also on Tuesday that it posted 3.2-percent sales growth in the first four months of the year from higher demand arising from the warm temperatures of the past summer.

    “This is a positive but not great because in April for example, we saw sales surging by 9.2 percent after fairly lackluster first quarter,” Reyes said.

    Meralco earlier reported an unaudited consolidated core net income of P4.024 billion for the first three months, up 17.7 percent from the P3.418 billion recorded in the same period last year.

    The company attributed the higher income to the sustained increase in the number of new customer accounts; faster energization of new property developments such as residential and office condominiums, and the opening of the entertainment complex Pagcor Entertainment City; and increased demand from the industrial sector, among others.

    Reyes also said that the company continues to look at expansion in its distribution business outside of its franchise area.

    “We are looking at areas where we can be of service. Where either lack of power or price is quite challenging . . . Basically in Luzon, without prejudice, to Visayas and Mindanao, areas where electricity service is a challenge,” he said.

    Reyes further said that the company is also looking at a bigger role in the electricity distribution business in Nigeria, from its existing 5-percent participation in a business there.

    Meralco recently partnered with Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing (IEDM), a Nigerian Special Purpose Vehicle, for bidding in the government-sponsored privatization of 11 electricity distribution companies serving Nigeria.

    Meralco-IEDM topped the bidding for four electric distribution companies but was awarded two distribution areas—Ibadan and Yola.

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