Aboitiz InfraCapital budgets P26B for projects this year

ABOITIZ InfraCapital, Inc. announced on Monday that it is setting aside P26 billion for its capital expenditure (capex) budget this year to fund the company’s economic estate development and other expansion projects.

These funds will be used for the company’s economic estate development and other expansion projects, said Jose Emmanuel U. Hilado, chief financial officer of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., the parent company of Aboitiz InfraCapital, during a virtual press briefing.

The company is targeting to launch its fourth economic estate in Tarlac next month.

The 200-hectare project was driven by the company’s optimism in Central Luzon’s potential, said Cosette V. Canilao, president and chief executive officer of Aboitiz InfraCapital.

She cited the major expressways in the area, including the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, North Luzon Expressway, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, and the Central Luzon Link Expressway.

The company is also working to expand its other existing economic estates, such as the 540-hectare mixed-use West Cebu Estate in Balamban and the 794-hectare LIMA Estate.

The remainder of Aboitiz InfraCapital’s capex is earmarked for tower acquisitions and regional airports.

“We are always on the lookout to acquire towers that are strategic to what we have right now. Strategic in terms of co-location potentials, and at the same time, strategic with respect to where most of our towers are located,” Ms. Canilao said, adding that the company is also looking into rehabilitating and building new towers.

The company also aims to complete tower acquisitions from Globe Telecom, Inc. in the first semester, through Unity Digital Infrastructure, Inc.

Unity Infrastructure is a joint venture telecommunications infrastructure platform of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. and the global private markets firm Partner Group.

The company is keen on developing more regional airports aside from the ones for which it has currently secured original proponent status (OPS).

It has secured OPS for the operations, maintenance, and development of the New Bohol-Panglao International Airport and Laguindingan International Airport.

The Department of Transportation recently opened the Swiss Challenge for Laguindingan International Airport in Mindanao, while the DoTr may invite bidders to challenge the company’s bid for the Bohol airport next month.

The company is also part of the Aboitiz InfraCapital GMCAC or the GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., which manages the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

“For Mactan, we’re not allocating any capex for that one because it’s already self-sustaining. But we do have some ongoing projects to improve passenger experience, to reduce carbon footprint, and to make the airport more efficient and more entertaining for our passengers,” Ms. Canilao said.


Meanwhile, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) announced its objective to derive 50% of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) from its non-power business.

“Our objective is to have at least 50% of our EBITDA coming from the non-power business. It’s easier said than done considering that our power business also continues to grow,” AEV Chief Financial Officer Jose Emmanuel U. Hilado said.

“The consumer market is where we see more opportunities simply because we have a young population and strong consumer consumption. This will continue to anchor our economic growth in the Philippines,” he added.

AEV’s power segment led by Aboitiz Power Corp. accounted for 67% of the conglomerate’s P23.5 billion net income last year.

The conglomerate earmarked P153 billion for its capex budget this year to expand its renewable energy portfolio and other businesses.

Mr. Hilado added that AEV is poised to sustain its growth this year led by the recent acquisition of domestic bottler of Coca-Cola products, Coca Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI). The deal was completed on Feb. 23.

“We are confident that 2024 will see positive growth as we integrate our acquisitions like Citi’s consumer business, Mactan Airport, and CCBPI,” he said.

“I cannot identify a specific asset (to acquire) at this point but suffice it to say that as part of our diversification strategy, we will continue to pursue opportunities as they come,” he added.

The joint acquisition involving AEV and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Plc. (CCEP) is valued at $1.8 billion. AEV has 40% stake in CCBPI, while the remaining 60% stake is held by CCEP.

“For the internal synergies between CCBPI and AEV, the most obvious is the ability to provide financing facilities to distributors of CCBPI through Unionbank. This allows them to access lower financing cost, therefore the ability to expand their inventory and distribution capabilities,” he said.

Pilmico and Gold Coin Group President Tristan Aboitiz said that the AEV’s food group is optimistic on the medium to longer term future of its swine farms business despite risks such as the effect of African Swine Fever (ASF).

“The outlook for the swine industry continues to be challenging because of ASF. It continues to have an impact on key swine producing markets like the Philippines, Vietnam, and China. I think we remain optimistic about the medium to longer term future in this area. I believe that we’re taking the steps necessary to prepare us for the challenges,” he said.

“I think as we move forward, we’ll take a more measured approach to growing our swine farms business,” he added.

Meanwhile, Aboitiz Land, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer David Rafael said the company is cautiously optimistic of the country’s property market because of surging demand despite geopolitical tensions.

“We will continue to take advantage of the opportunities are seeing. We have nine ongoing projects. We have three in the North Luzon area. We have two in the south Luzon area, and we have four in Cebu. They’re all ongoing projects. We’re just going to continue developing those properties,” he said.

“I think there are a lot of good things going on right now in the industry. We continue to see very good growth, particularly in the areas outside of Metro Manila. Of course, we still have all these geopolitical tension. I guess we all have to deal with that. So overall, I think the pluses outweigh the minuses,” he added. — Ashley Erika O. Jose and Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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