Roxas Holdings, GBPC eye power plant JV

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Roxas Holdings Inc. (RHI) and Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) have tied up for a potential joint venture in a biomass power plant project in Negros Occidental in a bid to eventually contribute power to the national grid.

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Sugar producer RHI and independent power producer GBPC are two firms that business mogul Manuel Pangilinan invested in last year.

In November last year, the power generation unit of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which is chaired by Pangilinan, bought a 20-percent stake in GBPC for P7.15 billion.

A month after that, Hong Kong-based conglomerate First Pacific Co. Ltd., the parent firm of Meralco which is also chaired by Pangilinan, officially entered Philippine-listed firm Roxas and Company Inc. (RCI) after acquiring shares in RHI for P2.2 billion.

At the company’s annual stockholders meeting held Wednesday, RHI Chairman Pedro Roxas said that his group and GBPC, the power-generation arm of tycoon George Ty’s GT Capital, will undertake a feasibility study for the development of a 40-megawatt (MW) biomass power plant.

“We hope that the feasibility study on the 40-MW biomass power plant in La Carlota, Negros Occidental, which will use bagasse from our [sugar]plants, will equip the Group to have stable power supply and enable our units to contribute excess power to the national grid,” Roxas said.

Renato Valencia, RHI president and chief executive officer, said the two groups will tap Pöyry Energy Ltd., a leading international consulting and energy company, to undertake a feasibility study to determine the viability of the project.

The planned project is anchored on cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), which involves the use of a power station for the simultaneous generation of electricity and usable heat.

“This initiative allows RHI to move a step forward in aligning its operating standards to best of class globally, by reducing wastes in the plants and increasing recovery at the business units,” Valencia said.

For his part, GBPC Executive Vice President Jaime Azurin said that RHI and GBPC will share the cost of the feasibility study.

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