Nov 102013

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, has formally expanded its foothold in Nigeria, Africa last Nov. 1, its chairman said.

“Nov. 1, I believe was the turnover date. We’ve sent our people there early October. It was a team of two groups, a total of 12 Filipinos,” said Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

Meralco has partnered with Lagos-based Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd., a special purpose vehicle, for the takeover of two distribution utilities in Nigeria – Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc. and Yola Electricity Distribution Co. Plc.

The IEDM-led consortium tapped Meralco as technical partner for two power firms privatized by the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Meralco has taken a five-percent equity in IEDM, amounting to $31.500.

Pangilinan said IEDM tapped Meralco because it does not have any background experience in distribution system.

In announcing the partnership last August, Pangilinan said Meralco also has the option to increase its stake to 20 percent.

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Meralco president Oscar Reyes said the distributor views the deal in Africa as a way to bring its power retailer brand overseas.

IEDM approached Meralco in 2011 after it was referred by a European advisory firm.

Aside from Nigeria, Reyes said Meralco would continue to be on the look out for opportunities overseas.

In April, Meralco completed the purchase of a 70 percent stake in an 800-megawatt liquefied natural gas project in Singapore for $488 million.

Meralco subsidiary PowerGen Corp. and First Pacific Company Ltd. have formed a joint venture, FPM Power Holdings Ltd. (FPMP) to acquire 70 percent of GMR Energy (Singapore).  The remaining 30 percent is owned by Petronas.

Meralco posted a reported net income of P13.6 billion in the nine months to September, unchanged from last year, but bringing the company near its core net income projection of P17 billion for the whole year.

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