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Aboitiz Power Corporation

AboitizPower takes P3.7-B hit with permanent closure of biomass plant

ABOITIZ POWER Corp. (AboitizPower) is taking a hit of P3.7 billion as it permanently stopped the operations of a biomass power plant because of the lack of organic materials to produce electricity.

“Our top consideration now is to balance the interests of all our stakeholders, including that of Aseagas’ employees,” said AboitizPower President and Chief Operating Officer Antonio R. Moraza in a statement on Monday.

AboitizPower in November temporarily halted operations of its 8.8-megawatt (MW) power plant in Lian, Batangas under its unit Aseagas Corp. because of the unavailability of organic effluent wastewater from its supplier, Absolut Distillers, Inc. 

“Total value affected as a result of the closure is estimated to be at P3.7 billion, which represents Aseagas’ invested equity of P3.45 billion and the company’s estimated remaining obligations of around P250 million,” AboitizPower said.

Mr. Moraza warned last month that a write-off was a possibility.

“The company also took the opportunity to assess the plant’s other issues, and after a full assessment decided to make the plant shutdown permanent,” the company said yesterday.

Ahead of the permanent closure, Aseagas had prepaid an outstanding P2.368-billion loan with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). The company had invested equity of around P950 million for the biomass plant and has around P460 million in outstanding liabilities aside from the DBP loan, AboitizPower had said.

Mr. Moraza gave his assurance that AboitizPower remained on track to add around 500 MW, mainly from baseload and hydropower plants in 2018, moving the company closer to its 2020 target of 4,000-MW net attributable capacity.

AboitizPower acquired the biomass plant in July 2016, as it expanded its renewable energy footprint, which covers large hydro, run-of-river hydro, geothermal and solar.

The deal was through Aboitiz Renewables, Inc., the listed company’s holding firm that houses its investments in renewable energy. AboitizPower acquired the Aseagas facility from parent firm Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

The acquisition, which marked AboitizPower’s entry into biomass technology, followed the company’s foray into solar power with the inauguration in April 2016 of San Carlos Sun Power, Inc.’s 59-MW peak solar power plant in Negros Occidental.

The biomass plant was expected to start operating and delivering power to the Luzon grid before October 2016.

The facility was meant to use and convert the organic effluent of Absolut Distillery into clean and renewable energy. It was supposed to power about 22,000 households while producing 33 tons per day of liquid carbon dioxide for the industrial and beverage industries.

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