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Aboitiz Group of Companies

Power, real estate top new CEO’s list First Posted 14:38:00 01/20/2009

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CEBU CITY, Philippines - Power and real estate businesses will be the focus of the newly elected chief executive officer (CEO) of the Aboitiz Group of Companies.

Erramon ?Montxu? Aboitiz said that he is focusing on continuing with the group's power projects and promises that Capital expenditures (capex) for 2009 will be more than the 2008 share.

Montxu, 52, replaced his cousin, Jon Ramon Aboitiz (JRA), as Aboitiz Group of Companies CEO. JRA has reached the Aboitiz Group's mandatory retirement age of 60 last year and is now the Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) chairman.

Montxu, who remains as AEV president, said the bigger Capex will go to the group's power and real estate arm.

Aside from discussing his goals for this year, Montxu also assured the group's 20,000 work force of stable employment.

No retrenchment will happen to the employees of the Aboitiz Group of Companies, Montxu said.

?Most of our businesses are more resilient than the others. I don't think we have any particular plans (for retrenchment) at this point,? Montxu said.

The Aboitiz Group of Companies include businesses that address the needs of people such as power and real estate.

?Many may have slowed down this year but our programs are always for the medium and the long term...things we have initiated in the past. For us, it's business as usual,? Montxu told reporters on the group's first media gathering for this year.

The group's power and energy arm, Aboitiz Power Corp. (APC), has joined a consortium, the Cebu Energy Development Corp., to build three 82-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plants in Toledo City.

The first of three plants is expected to be operational in March 2010.

The consortium is made up of Global Business Power Corp., Formosa Heavy Industries and Abovant Holdings, a joint venture of APC and Vivant Corp.

Montxu said plans to acquire or build more power plants this year will depend on the market demand for power.

?We can only grow as fast as the market. It (market demand) will determine how aggressive we are in building new plants. (It also depends on the) speed at which the government sells the assets and the resources to be able to buy it,? he said.

Montxu said the power plant will help augment power capacity in the Visayas.

But power outages are expected until after the new power plants are available in the first quarter of 2010.

One of the group's firms, Visayan Electric Co. (Veco) is addressing this problem.

Jaime Jose Aboitiz, Veco executive vice president and CEO, said Veco management has asked at least 14 large power consumers, with a capability to self-generate, to help Veco by ?deloading? during peak hours.

Veco's peak hour is between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., said Sebastian Lacson, vice president for administration and customer services.

During peak hours, these companies will turn on their own generator sets to support their own power needs. This way, rotational brownouts will be prevented across Veco's franchise area.

Put together, these 14 companies will allow around 40 MW of power to be utilized by other consumers during peak hours.

Real estate arm, Aboitizland Inc. is projecting steady growth rate this year, said president and chief operating officer Andoni Aboitiz.

Andoni said the firm's entry in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry with building Imez at the Mactan Economic Zone 2 is an indication of the company's confidence in the local real estate sector.

?BPO business is a long-term business. There may be some hitches but the viability and stability of the BPO business will make it stay,? he said.

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