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Subway Construction to Start in Q4

by Philippine Resources - April 29, 2021

Excavation work to pave the way for the country's first subway line will begin later this year, according to a transportation official.

Two of the 25 tunnel boring machines needed for the Metro Manila Subway Project have arrived in the region, according to Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan. The first phase of the project, which includes stations in East Valenzuela, Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora Avenue, and North Avenue, could be finished by 2023 or 2024, according to him.

"We are expecting to start excavation by the 4th quarter of this year and that is going to start from our depot in Valenzuela heading southwards into Tandang Sora and eventually into North Avenue," Batan said.

Site clearance activities, comprehensive infrastructure plans, and other arrangements were carried out after the groundbreaking ceremony in February 2019. The Philippine Railway Institute, which will train railway workers, is expected to open in 2022, according to Batan. By 2025 or 2026, the entire 34-kilometre line with 17 stations could be finished.

Batan affirmed that the mega-underground project's building work would have negligible effects on traffic.

"During construction, there will be some disruption," he said. "There will be some traffic control measures that will be installed, but that's it."

The subway will also link to the North-South Commuter Railway, which will take riders as far as Laguna province, according to the undersecretary.

"They will be physically interconnected," explained Batan. "Meaning, trains coming from underground in the subway will start emerging between FTI and Bicutan stations and can bring passengers all the way to the Calamba station of the North-South Commuter Rail."

The subway network costs 356.97 billion dollars and is funded by Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA).



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Philippine Resources - March 10, 2021

Makati Subway Builder Signs Deal

Philippine Infradev Holdings Inc. announced that it had signed new agreements for the funding and acquisition of lots for the $3.7 billion Makati City Subway Project. In a filing with the stock exchange, Philippine Infradev said Makati City Subway Inc. had signed a term sheet agreement with Richer Today Inc. (RTI) to create a joint venture company that would finance and acquire lots in and around Manila. RTI agreed to release at least P775.885 million within 120 days of signing the term sheet, with at least P234.73 million to be released within 10 days of signing, according to the group. “Station 5 has been identified as the main construction site where the tunnel boring machines will be assembled and lowered,” Philippine Infradev said. According to the company, the first group of engineers from its Chinese contractor had arrived and were finalizing construction plans. The 10-station train system runs for ten kilometres and makes stops at strategic locations in Makati. Meanwhile, the company announced that it had reached an agreement with Hong Kong Binjiang Industrial Limited to mutually terminate MSCI's share purchase agreement. “It has been almost 1 year since the transactions contemplated in the agreement were submitted to the Philippine Competition Commission for approval, and to date, the same is still pending review,” the company said. “The effectivity of the transactions contemplated in the agreement, specifically the release of funds earmarked by HK Binjiang, was conditioned on the PCC’s approval of the transactions.” In February 2020, MSCI signed an investment agreement with HK Binjiang which will gain a 35-per cent direct interest in MCSI under the terms of the agreement by purchasing 15 million common shares for $30 million, payable within 10 business days of the agreement's effective date. For $72 million, HK Binjiang will purchase 36 million primary common shares of MCSI. The proposed 10-kilometre subway project will connect key locations in Makati, including Ayala Avenue's central business district, Makati City Hall, the Poblacion Heritage Site, the University of Makati, the Ospital ng Makati, and other new neighbourhoods. By 2024 or 2025, the project is expected to be finished.

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Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021

Semirara Mining Expects Profit Recovery This Year

Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC), a publicly traded integrated energy firm, expect some profit recovery this year, owing to improved coal and power demand and costs. SMPC chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji said at the company's virtual stockholders' meeting that the company's bottom line will boost as the coal and energy markets rebound from last year's historic lows. “To take advantage of the upswing, we will capitalize on our COVID-19 resiliency and adaptation strategy of focusing on our people, finances, and execution skills. However, given our operational headwinds and until our country reaches herd immunity, it is unlikely that we will return to our pre-pandemic profit level this year,” he said. The business ended in 2020 with a combined net income of P3.3 billion, down 66% from P9.6 billion the previous year. Revenues dropped 36.2 per cent to P23.3 billion as coal production, sales, and prices fell, while energy sales fell due to low power rates and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp's (SLPGC) expected and unplanned outages. The coal division of SMPC and the SLPGC plants will be the key drivers of development this year. With remedial steps introduced in Molave North Block 7 (NB7), the coal industry is expected to reach 13 million metric tons, according to SMPC president and COO Maria Cristina Gotianun. “This year, we expect our coal business to perform better on the back of recovering consumption and prices. The remedial measures we have been implementing since December have also allowed us to steadily normalize production. Now that the water seepage at NB7 has gone down to manageable levels, we expect annual production to hit 13 million metric tons,” she said. Due to excessive water seepages, SMPC postponed mining operations in Molave NB7 in early December, reducing coal output by 13% to 13.2 million metric tons. SLPGC is expected to drive profits in SMPC's power market due to higher sales, but Sem-Calaca Power Corp. (SCPC) is expected to produce poor performance. SCPC is the owner of the Calaca coal-fired power plant in Batangas, which it bought from the government in 2009 for $362 million. In the same location, SLPGC operates a 2x150-MW coal power plant. “For this year, we expect uneven results from our power subsidiaries. SLPGC is set to stage a strong profit recovery because of higher plant availability and better spot market prices. Unfortunately, SCPC is likely to deliver disappointing results because of the forced outage of its Unit 2 beginning Dec. 3 last year,” Gotianun said. SCPC's outage was triggered by a seven-month-old generator stator failing. Repairs are currently being negotiated with generator provider GE, according to Gotianun. “While they have agreed to cover the majority of the costs related to fixing the equipment, we are intent on making them shoulder all the necessary expenses. We expect to complete our negotiations within the year,” she said. “In the meantime, we are doing our best to fast track the repair of the generator. If all goes well, Unit 2 can be up and running by the third quarter of this year,” Gotianun said. This year, SMPC will invest P4 billion to rebound from last year's slump. The overall sum will be divided between SCPC and SLPGC for their prevention and repair services, with P2.9 billion going to buy mining and service equipment for the coal industry. Since the COVID-19 pandemic placed a burden on the company's liquidity last year, the management agreed to delay P3.7 billion of CAPEX to this year as part of its cash saving steps.

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Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021

Australian Mining Firms Show Interest in the Philippines

According to Australia's Ambassador to the Philippines, Steven Robinson, several Australian mining firms have shown interest in mining in the Philippines, and the recent lifting of a nine-year ban on new mining ventures has paved the way for the possibility of responsible and world-class mining. Robinson said that mining if conducted safely and in accordance with international standards, could help the Philippines recover from the effects of the pandemic's economic impact. “The miners that we already have here—Orica [Philippines], OceanaGold, Red 5 [group], a number of them—are already thinking about what the future holds for them as a result of that ban being lifted,” he said in a virtual briefing on Monday. “They have started to reach out to us just in recent times to express interest in mining across the Philippines. I think that is a very positive step for the Philippines and good for Australian miners here,” he added, when asked to comment on the lifting of the ban. Malacanang recently released Executive Order No. 130, effectively lifting the nine-year ban on new mining deals. The order reversed a clause of then-President Benigno Aquino III's Executive Order No. 79, which was issued in 2012. The EO included a clause prohibiting the issuance of new mining licenses or mining output sharing arrangements unless a new revenue-sharing scheme was established. President Rodrigo Duterte said that the mining tax scheme included in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act had already met the EO's requirements. The TRAIN Act increased the excise on minerals, mining goods, and quarry services from 2% to 4%, lowering personal income taxes while increasing consumption taxes. Duterte previously stated that the country had only used about 5% of its natural wealth. According to the Australian ambassador, this demonstrated that there was something that could be achieved in the world to assist in its economic recovery. “The Philippines is a natural resource-rich country, and there’s much that could be done here that will really benefit the Philippines’ recovery, and Australian firms know that,” Robinson said. 

Industry

Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021

AC Energy Focuses on 12GW of Renewable Energy Projects

AC Energy (ACEN) is operating on approximately 12 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy (RE) projects, more than double its goal of five GW for 2025, as it strives to become Southeast Asia's largest listed RE network. At COL Financial's briefing, ACEN President and CEO Eric Francia said the 12GW of projects placed the Ayala-led company in a fantastic position to achieve its long-term goals. Solar and wind platforms will make up the majority of the projects it plans to begin in 2021. With 5,200 megawatts (MW), Australia leads the way, followed by the Philippines with 3,400MW, Vietnam with 2,400MW, and India and other Asia-Pacific countries with 900MW. 1,000MW of the 12GW projects in the pipeline are expected to reach financial close in the next six to twelve months, bringing the company more than halfway to its target. By the end of the year, ACEN hopes to obtain regulatory clearance for the influx of foreign funds. The Ayala Group's power arm is maintaining a follow-on offering (FOO) until Friday, with shares priced at Php6.50 per share. “We are grateful for the continued support of our regulators and for the overwhelming response we received from the institutional investors during the book-building process. The exceptional investor support reinforces AC Energy’s position as the region’s leading renewables platform,” Francia said in a statement disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange. The FOO is part of a five-step effort by the company to generate Php30 billion for clean energy programs this year. “The FOO completes the company’s successful fundraising efforts this year and allows it to play a meaningful role in the green-led recovery,” Francia added.

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