Aboitiz Power unit refinances old debt

SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet Inc. has refinanced the peso loan component of the $375-million debt it obtained from a consortium of domestic and international banks in August 2008.

“The proceeds of the refinancing will be used to partially fund the rehabilitation of the 105-MW Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant and the refurbishment of the 140-MW Binga hydro power plant, repay existing loans or advances and for other general corporate purposes,” Aboitiz Power Corp., the parent company of SN Aboitiz, said in a disclosure to the stock exchange Friday.

After refinancing, SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet’s credit facility would reach $436.23 million from International Finance Corp., Nordic Investment Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands and BDO Unibank Inc.

SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet, a joint venture between Aboitiz Power and SN Power AS of Norway, acquired the Ambuklao-Binga HEPP for $325 million through a competitive bidding in November 2007.

The Energy Regulatory Commission recently granted SNAP-Benguet an amended certificate of compliance  for all four units of the Binga power plant located in Barangay Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet.

The amendment reflects the increase of Binga hydro power plant’s capacity to 140 megawatts at 35 MW each, from 125.8 MW (31.45 MW for each of the four units)  following an uprating work that began on Dec. 2, 2014 and was completed on Feb. 23, 2015.

“The uprating was a result of commissioning tests that showed the Binga HEPP could generate as high as 35 MW at rated head or the water depth for which a hydroelectric generator and turbines were designed,” Aboitiz Power said earlier.

The Binga hydro plant was uprated to its maximum capacity without changing technically much of the existing equipment.  The plant has an economic life of 48 years.

The certificate of compliance is valid for five years, reckoned from March 12, 2012 (the date of the approved COC for Unit 4, the first unit to be re-powered) or until March 12, 2017.

SNAP Benguet is the owner and operator of the Ambuklao-Binga hydroelectric power complex, consisting of the 105-MW Ambuklao plant located in Bokod, Benguet and the 140-MW Binga hydroelectric power Plant located in Itogon, Benguet.

The Energy Department earlier approved the new greenfield projects of SNAP totaling 350 megawatts in Ifugao.

These include the 100-MW Alimit plant, the 240-MW pumped storage facility and the 10-MW Olilicon plant. The facilities will be developed under a subsidiary, SNAP-Ifugao.

The contract term provides for 25 years beginning July 24, 2014 and renewable for another 25 years.

“SNAP’s greenfield development program aims to grow the company’s renewable portfolio by looking at potential small and large hydro projects in the Philippines, primarily within its current host communities in northern Luzon,” SN Aboitiz said.

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