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Companies

Ayala enters Australia energy market with $30m venture stake

Philippine conglomerate expands power portfolio with 50% share of UPC Renewables

Ayala's entry into the Australian energy market moves the conglomerate closer to its goal of 2,000mwh of generating capacity by 2020. (Photo by Masayuki Kozono)

MANILA -- Ayala Corp., the Philippines' oldest conglomerate, has entered the Australian energy market through a joint venture with UPC Renewables to expand its power portfolio, the company said on Wednesday.

Ayala unit AC Energy is investing $30 million for a 50% stake in the Australian business of UPC Renewables. It will also provide a $200 million facility to fund developments, including a 1,000 megawatt wind project in North West Tasmania and a 600 MW solar farm in New South Wales.

The company is also developing up to 3,000 MW of new projects in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.

"The UPC Renewables Australia platform is focused on large-scale projects and is managed by a high-quality management team," said AC Energy President and CEO Eric Francia.

UPC Renewables Chief Executive Anton Rohner said Ayala's investment would accelerate its project development in Australia.

UPC Renewables has developed 3,500 MW of wind and solar projects worth over $5 billion, and has a pipeline of 5,000 MW of projects under development. UPC Renewables also has a presence in the U.S., Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Philippines, Tunisia and Vietnam.

Ayala is building its energy portfolio to meet its target of exceeding 5,000 MW in attributable generation capacity by 2025. At the end of 2017, its capacity exceeded 1,600 MW, approaching its 2,000 MW target by 2020.

AC Energy has been focusing on developing wind and solar projects, where it sees growth opportunities.

In July 2017, AC Energy also entered into development funding with UPC Renewables for power projects below 50 MW in Indonesia. Earlier this year, AC Energy entered into a joint venture with AMI Renewables Energy in Vietnam for wind and solar projects.

Last year, it sold 70% of its shareholdings in three domestic hydropower companies to venture partner Sta. Clara Corp.

In 2016, Ayala's energy unit acquired Chevron's geothermal energy assets in the Philippines and Indonesia, growing the company's generation capacity 10-fold at the time.

Ayala has diversified beyond its traditional businesses of real estate, banking, telecommunications and water supply into education, transport, infrastructure, power generation and motorcycle manufacturing.

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