Business Sense

[WATCH] Leandro Leviste to investors: Think long term for Solar PH Nueva Ecija IPO

Ralf Rivas

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[WATCH] Leandro Leviste to investors: Think long term for Solar PH Nueva Ecija IPO
Leandro Leviste is setting low expectations for dividends in the short term, but says investing in Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corporation would be rewarding in a few years

Leandro Leviste’s Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corporation (SPNEC) is set to go public, even though its power plant is not yet operational.

This is the first time that a Filipino company has done so, by making use of the rules set by the Supplemental Listing and Disclosure Requirements for Renewable Energy Companies approved by the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2011.

These rules allow development-stage project companies to list, subject to certain requirements, including having a valid and subsisting service contract awarded by the Department of Energy.

SPNEC, a subsidiary of Solar Philippines, could raise up to P2.7 billion, with the first P1.3 billion raised primarily to be used to complete the first 50 megawatts of its project. Amounts raised in excess of P1.3 billion would be for acquiring land to expand the project beyond 500 MW.

But when will the company make money? When will investors get dividends?

[WATCH] Leandro Leviste to investors: Think long term for Solar PH Nueva Ecija IPO

In an interview with Rappler’s Business Sense, Leviste said he wants to “set low expectations for dividends in the short term.”

“Management really thinks that this is an industry that is poised for growth and it would be a disservice to shareholders to prioritize distributions when we can instead be reinvesting the earnings to make this a full 500 MW and even beyond,” Leviste said.

The 28-year-old chief executive officer added that investing at a time when the solar power plant is still in its early stages would be more rewarding, rather than investing when it is already operational and already “the largest in Southeast Asia.”

Leviste said SPNEC is likely to complete the first 50-MW component of the project nine months after the initial public offering. The next 225 MW would be completed “a few months thereafter.”

“If that timeline is met, then we may declare dividends as early as 2023,” he said. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.