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Monday, May 19, 2014

Aboitiz Group eyes power, food ventures abroad

The Aboitiz Group plans to bring its power generation and food businesses outside the Philippines.

In a press briefing today, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc (AEV) president Erramon Aboitiz said unit Aboitiz Power Corp is looking at Papua New Guinea and Indonesia for expansion.

"We're looking at different sources. We are looking at geothermal, hydro," Aboitiz said.

The conglomerate is looking at buying into or rehabilitating an operating asset instead of building a power plant from scratch, he said.

“PNG, they have a plant that they are bidding out. I don't know what's happening there right now. We're looking at Indonesia. We are talking to some partners. But so far, we don't have anything firm,” Aboitiz said.

AboitizPower is among the three biggest players in the local power generation space along with the Lopezes and San Miguel Corp.

For its part, Pilmico Foods Corp president Sabin Aboitiz said the food unit of AEV is also eyeing acquisitions as a template for expansion, capitalizing on the opportunities presented by the Asean economic integration.

"We want to expand our markets and not only rely on the Philippines. The flour in Asean is tax-free. They are coming to the country and we need to be able to go to their markets to be able to balance it," he said.

Pilmico completed its first flour shipment to Vietnam last December. It is also opening an office in Indonesia by end-May or early June, after which it will also make its foray to Thailand.

AEV suffered a 29 percent year-on-year decline in earnings to P4.9 billion in the first quarter of the year, dragged by the weakness of its power and banking units.

For this year, AEV is allocating P88 billion for its capital expenditures, higher than the budgeted capex of P59 billion in 2013.

AboitizPower will account for P80 billion of the total spending. It will be earmarked for greenfield and brownfield projects that will increase its power generation capacity by 2,000 megawatts over the next five years.

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