Gokongwei-led URC joins power sector
MANILA, Philippines - The food manufacturing unit of the Gokongwei group is joining the power business by generating its own electricity using the by-product of its sugar business.
On Thursday, January 24, shareholders of Universal Robina Corp. (URC) approved the the company's plans to build a 40-megawatt cogeneration plant alongside its Sonedco sugar mill in Cabangcalan, Negros Occidental.
URC chairman James L. Go told reporters after the special stockholders meeting that the company is looking to invest internally-generated $1.5 million per megawatt -- or around $60 million (P2.44 billion) -- for the proposed facility, which will run on sugarcane byproducts, or bagasse.
"We will manage it ourselves," Go said.
"With the new technology, you can not only generate electricity for our own use but also sell to the grid," he added. The company will need only half of the capacity of the power plant for its operations.
Selling excess power capacity -- or about 4 to 5 megawatts (MW) -- to the grid may start in 2014, the first year of the power plant's operation. Excess power sold to the grid could rise to about 6 MW to 22 MW after the third year. Construction of the facility will take about 3 years.
Go said URC may also put up similar facilities in other company-owned sugar mills. The rest of its 5 mills are located in Iloilo and Cagayan Valley. The Sonedco mill is the company's biggest.
URC manufactures popular brands, including C2 ready-to-drink tea and Jack N' Jill snack foods. - Rappler.com