MVP taking 'baby steps' in Vietnam power investment

MANILA, Philippines - Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) will acquire a significant stake in Vietnam's power industry only after it learns more about it, MPIC chair Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan told reporters MPIC is looking at Vietnamese companies that are in the power generation sector, and already have projects in the pipeline.

But he said they would take modest steps in their investments, and would initially take a minority stake in one of these companies.

"It's better to take certain baby steps first," said Pangilinan, adding he could not say how long they intend to hold out on owning more.

He said the power projects they are looking at have capacities of between 150 and 600 megawatts (MW).

He said their possible entry in the projects "seem to be quite reasonable" because of assured demand from the Vietnamese government. "The power will be bought by the government through EVN (Vietnam Electricity)," he said.

Pangilinan said, meanwhile, they are also exploring investments in the oil and gas industry in Vietnam since the country may have indigenous sources of gas.

At present, Pangilinan said they are developing an oil field in Vietnam through Pitkin, where MPIC's affiliate Philex Petroleum Corp has a 27% stake.

In the Philippines, MPIC and affiliate Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., through their corporate vehicle Beacon Electric Assets Corp., own 48.02% of power distributor Manila Electric Co. -