Meralco unit secures P42B for power plant

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CONSTRUCTION of a planned 500-megawatt supercritical coal fired power plant in Mauban, Quezon is on track after the project proponent, San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. (SBPL), secured a P42.15 billion funding from a consortium of local banks.

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SBPL, a unit of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has already signed an omnibus agreement on funding for the project, the biggest all-peso project finance facility in the country to date.

Among the senior-term loan lenders are BDO Unibank, Inc., China Banking Corp. (Chinabank), Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank), Philippine National Bank (PNB) and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

BDO Unibank’sTrust and Investments Group served as the loan facility agent while Metrobank’s Trust Banking Group acted as collateral trustee.

BDO Capital & Investment Corp. and First Metro Investment Corp. were appointed as joint bookrunners and joint issue coordinators. Together with Chinabank, PNB Capital and Investment Corp. and RCBC Capital Corp., they also acted as joint lead arrangers for the transaction.

Proceeds of the loan will be used to fund the construction of SBPL’s coal power project, which is expected to start in the first half next year.

The San Buenaventura coal project is a joint venture between Meralco PowerGen and New Growth B.V., a unit of The Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd. (EGCO) of Thailand.
When completed, the power plant will be the first in the country to utilize state-of-the-art supercritical technology.

Compared to subcritical power plants, supercritical coal-fired power plants operate at higher pressures, leading to higher efficiencies and significant reduction in emissions over the expected life of the plant.

Once it starts commercial operations in the first half of 2019, the SBPL plant will provide efficient and reliable baseload supply for electricity consumers in Luzon.

The electricity generated by SBPL’s plant will be sold to Meralco under a 20-year power supply agreement that was approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) earlier this year.

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