Japanese firm acquires 25% of Sarangani coal-power plant

GENERAL SANTOS CITY- -- Japanese trading firm Toyota Tsusho Corp. has acquired 25 percent of the Alcantara-led Sarangani Energy Corp., developer of a 210-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in nearby Maasim, Sarangani, company executives said Wednesday.

Oscar Benedict E. Contreras III, Alsons Power Business Unit manager for communications and stakeholder relations, said the shareholders agreement was signed last Monday between parent Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR) and Totoya Tsusho

ACR chair Tomas I. Alcantara and ACR executive vice president Tirso G. Santillan Jr. signed in behalf of the Alsons Group, and Shinichi Ushijima, general manager for the Power Project Development Department of Toyota Tsusho, for the Japanese company.

Sarangani Energy is currently building the first 105-MW phase of the power plant at a cost of $310 Million.

Thirty percent of the project cost, which will be spent over the next three years of construction, will come from equity to be infused by ACR and Toyota Tsusho on a 75:25 basis, said Luis R. Ymson Jr., ACR chief financial officer.

The 70 percent balance of the project will come from a project financing facility for Sarangani Energy to be finalized soon, he said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued an environmental compliance certificate to the Maasim coal-fired power plant in 2009, which is located near a world-class diving spot and is being opposed by environmental group Greenpeace and the local Catholic Church.

The Maasim power plant, with a full two-phase capacity of up to 210 MW, is intended to be part of a long-term solution to the power shortage in Mindanao.

Sarangani Energy has forged a power sales agreement (PSA) with the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative Inc. (Socoteco-2) to provide up to 70 MW of electric supply.

Socotec-2 is the power distribution utility servicing at least 133,000 households in the entire province of Sarangani, General Santos City, and two municipalities in South Cotabato.

The construction process for phase 1 of the Maasim power plant began in June of 2012 with the commencement of preliminary design and engineering work, which was completed at the end of August 2012.

Geotechnical studies on the site area began in July and concluded in October 2012.

Civil works will kick off in the first quarter of 2013, the Alsons statement said, adding that phase 1 of the power plant is expected to begin operations by August 2015.

Toyota Tsusho is a publicly-listed trading conglomerate operating worldwide. It is present in over 60 countries and is engaged in various commercial endeavors including power generation; warehousing and logistics services; the retail and sale of Toyota vehicles and parts; the manufacture and sale of metals, machinery and heavy equipment; and the import and export of petroleum, coal, agricultural products, and other commodities.

Aside from the Maasim power plant, the Alcantara Group controls and operates the 100 MW Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC) bunker-fired powerplant in Sangali, Zamboanga City and the Southern Philippines Power Corporation 55 MW bunker-fired power plant in Alabel, Sarangani province.

The group is also developing the San Ramon Power Inc. (SRPI) plant in San Ramon, Talisayan, Zamboanga City that will have the capacity to generate up to 105 MW of electricity for Zamboanga City and nearby areas. The SRPI plant is expected to be operational by 2016.

Apart from power project development and power generation management, the Alcantara Group is also engaged in property development, aquaculture, agribusiness, and services.

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