Sy-led NGCP mulls prepaying concession fee
The country's main transmission operator is considering paying in advance part of its remaining concession fee

POWER TRANSMISSION. The privatized power transmission operator wants to prepay contract fee. File photo by Lala Rimando/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s sole power transmission highway operator now headed by Henry Sy Jr, the eldest son and namesake of the country’s richest man, is considering paying in advance part of its contract fee to the government.

In an interview with reporters, the head of the the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said that they are eyeing to settle a portion of its US$2.7 billion remaining concession fee.

“We can prepay $1 to $2 billion. We can help the government,” said NGCP president Henry Sy, Jr.

“Hopefully, we can announce it within the year,” he said, adding that the final date and amount will be announced as soon as they finalize the details.

Sy was responding to questions regarding the previous letter of Emmanuel R. Ledesma Jr., president and CEO of state-owned PSALM, pressing the privatized firm to prepay its outstanding concession fees.

PSALM, the agency tasked to handle and manage the government’s power assets, has been prodding NGCP to prepay the concession fee to allow it to settle the obligations of National Power Corp. (Napocor), the state-owned power company.

“We are voluntary offering to the government that if we can get financing we will do prepayment,” said NGCP special assistant to the president Joseph Dechavez.

Among NGCP’s financing options for the prepayment is the issuance of corporate notes, Sy said.

NGCP won a 25-year concession contract in 2008 to operate the country’s transmission assets. It is in-charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power transmission network.

It is a joint venture between State Grid Corp. of China and Sy, the eldest son of mall magnate Henry Sy, whose conglomerate operates the SM Mall chain.

Under the concession agreement, NGCP has to pay the government through PSALM some $3.95 billion in concession fees, on a staggered basis over the concession period. –

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