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Aboitiz InfraCapital eyes P20B capex in 2022

Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. is setting aside P20 billion for its capital expenditure (capex) budget next year, as it plans to expand its industrial estates and digital infrastructure business.

“For next year, our capex would be around P20 billion. The bulk of our capex would be for economic estates and our digital [infrastructure] business,” Cosette V. Canilao, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aboitiz InfraCapital, said in a media briefing on Friday.

Next year’s budget will be 53% higher than the P13 billion capex earmarked by the company this year.

The company in April said it agreed to create a telecommunications infrastructure joint venture, Unity Digital Infrastructure, Inc., with global private markets firm Partners Group.

Unity Digital has completed cell sites in Luzon and Visayas and is aiming to have over 1,000 sites by next year. It will be working with over 150 accredited vendors and contractors to build these common towers.

“We are probably [going to need] over P5 billion, so anywhere between P5 [billion] to P6 billion,” Unity Digital CEO Robin R. Sarmiento said during the briefing.

Aboitiz InfraCapital is also looking to deploy over 350 small cell sites before the year ends.

“We are expecting to deploy in Subic, in addition to Cebu and Davao,” said Rafael M. Aboitiz, general manager of the company’s small cell sites business.

The company said the small cell sites business will be useful in addressing the capacity and congestion issues of mobile network operators.

Meanwhile, Aboitiz InfraCapital said it plans to further grow its business by “proactively participating in project opportunities in the industrial development, water, digital infrastructure, and transport sectors” in the future.

“At the beginning of the year, we set out to revamp our brand as part of our top priorities. We want to establish InfraCap as a full-fledged Strategic Business Unit within the Aboitiz Group… We at Aboitiz InfraCapital aim to create purpose-driven infrastructure,” Ms. Canilao said.

Aboitiz InfraCapital is optimistic on the economy’s recovery from the pandemic.

It rebranded its integrated economic centers to “economic estates,” namely LIMA Estate, Mactan Economic Zone 2 Estate, and West Cebu Estate.

“The change comes as expansion plans for LIMA and West Cebu Estate are underway which are expected to yield up to 89,000 jobs combined. The business unit estimates that LIMA’s industrial expansion alone will bring in P10.3 billion worth of inventory,” Aboitiz InfraCapital said.

LIMA Tower One, the first of a six-tower building project, will add 34,000 square meters of gross floor area to the LIMA Estate by mid-2024. Rafael P. Fernandez de Mesa, head of Aboitiz Economic Estates, said the firm is still finalizing the budget for the project.

Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. is slated to begin operations by next year. It is expected to provide at least 300 million liters of treated water each day to the Davao City Water District.

Aboitiz InfraCapital is also working on the small water network of its LIMA Water Corp. The network will improve operational efficiency and savings of deep well operation, auto adjustment of transfer pumps, and non-revenue water management.

Shares of parent Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. went up by 0.97% or 50 centavos to close at P52 per share on Friday. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte with report from Arjay L. Balinbin

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