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ACEN plans P30-B bonds, readies 458-MW solar farms

AC ENERGY Corp. (ACEN) is planning a P30-billion debt securities program to be shelf-registered with the corporate regulator, with a P10-billion first tranche allocated for three solar projects with a combined capacity of 458 megawatts (MW).

In a regulatory filing, the Ayala-led renewable energy (RE) company said that its executive committee in a meeting on Wednesday authorized the debt securities to be offered and issued in one or more tranches.

“All (three solar farms are for) completion next year,” Eric T. Francia, ACEN president and chief executive officer, separately told reporters partly in Filipino after the meeting.

ACEN identified the projects as the expansion of its 72-MW Arayat-Mexico, Pampanga solar farm by another 42 MW; the first phase 133-MW solar farm in Lal-lo, Cagayan; and the first phase 283-MW solar farm in San Marcelino, Zambales.

“Arayat is the only expansion, ‘yung dalawa bago (the other two are new),” Mr. Francia said.

In its filing, ACEN said the P10-billion initial tranche would be peso-denominated ASEAN green fixed-rate, five-year bonds that would be applied for listing with the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp.

The company’s executive committee authorized Mr. Francia, Chief Finance Officer Maria Corazon G. Dizon, and Deputy Chief Finance Officer Juan Martin L. Syquia to jointly determine and finalize the terms and conditions for the bonds and the debt securities program.

It also approved the total transaction costs related to the bond issuance of up to 1.4% of the issue size.

The Pampanga solar farm expansion comes after ACEN unit ACE Endevor, Inc. entered into a “framework agreement” in February 2020 for the joint development, ownership and operation of solar and other power plants in the Philippines.

Under the agreement, Citicore Renewable Energy Corp. and ACE Endevor are to be shareholders in a company — Natures Renewable Energy Development Corp. — incorporated to own and undertake the development of the solar farm in Arayat and Mexico.

In March this year, ACEN set up a joint venture with CleanTech Renewable Energy 4 Corp. to start building the 133-MW solar farm and transmission line in Lal-lo.

Late last year, it disclosed that it had agreed to subscribe to the shares of subsidiary Santa Cruz Solar Energy, Inc., which is developing the 283-MW solar farm in San Marcelino.

ACEN aims to become the largest listed renewables platform in Southeast Asia. It is also committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Earlier this year, ACEN said it had invested more than $200 million in what it calls “priority markets,” namely: Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia. It targets to add renewable capacity in the United States to its portfolio ahead of its goal of installing 5,000 MW of renewables by 2025.

Thus far, the company has an attributable capacity of 3,800 MW in the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Australia. Of this figure, renewables account for 87%, which it claims to be the highest in the region.

Mr. Francia said the company is set to disclose next month a new target installed capacity for completion by 2030. — VVS

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