Aboitiz firms in Cebu to pursue innovation-based growth in 2019
CEBU CITY — The Aboitiz Group is optimistic its Cebu-based business units (BUs) will post strong performances in 2019 on the back of several key innovation projects to be implemented this year.
Visayan Electric Co., Inc. (VECO), the country’s second-largest privately-owned distribution utility and a unit of Aboitiz Power Corporation, aims to complete this year the 890-meter phase 3 of its underground distribution system (UDS). This will add to UDS Phase 1 which consists of work from the Cebu Provincial Capitol site to Fuente Osmeña, and Phase 2 which consists of work onward to P. del Rosario Street.
Launched in 2015, VECO’s UDS aims to rid Cebu City’s streets of unsightly wires, reduce outages and operational costs caused by vegetation, and increase VECO’s overall customer reliability.
VECO also aims to achieve 100% emergency response within 30 minutes, 100% restoration time within one hour, and increase by 50% same-day connections and reconnections.
“AboitizPower expects that its existing distribution utilities will continue to realize modest growth. It continuously seeks efficiency and improvements in its distribution utilities’ operations in order to maintain healthy margins,” said Jaime Jose Y. Aboitiz, AboitizPower Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (EVP and COO)-Distribution Business Group.
For power generation, the second 170-MW unit of AboitizPower subsidiary Therma Visayas, Inc.’s baseload plant in Toledo City is expected to come online in May 2019, following the launch of the power plant’s first 170-MW unit last April 6.
With the entry of TVI along with several ongoing distribution projects, VECO further secures its long-term power supply and improves the reliability of its network.
“Providing reliable and ample power supply to its customers is Veco’s mission. We are committed to advancing business and communities where we are located, which is why we are constantly improving our facilities to better serve our customers,” said Anton Mari G. Perdices, VECO EVP and COO.
Meanwhile, rehabilitation of the 153.1-MW Naga Power Plant Complex (NPPC) in Naga City is still ongoing. Therma Power Visayas, Inc. (TPVI), which owns and manages the plant complex, targets to rehabilitate six bunker C-fed power units within the facility and expects to complete the overhaul by the latter part of 2020.
Aside from power, other BUs in Cebu–where the Aboitiz Group traces its roots–are also in for a busy 2019.
CitySavings, the thrift arm of Aboitiz banking and financial services BU UnionBank, will venture this year into bancassurance with Insular Life. Under parent UnionBank’s Digital Transformation Roadmap-Transformation C+, it will also begin offering motorcycle loans and loans for pensioners, seafarers, and overseas Filipino workers, while it continues to strengthen its flagship teacher’s salary loan product. CitySavings will also improve operational efficiencies of acquired rural banks, and leverage on alternative credit scoring models through partnerships.
In addition, the acquisition and merger of Philippine Resources (PR) Savings Bank with CitySavings was finalized in February 2019 with the latter as the surviving entity. CitySavings will also further expand its mass market reach via a purchase agreement with Batangas-based Bangko Kabayan.
AboitizLand, meanwhile, aims to maintain its foothold in Cebu with five ongoing residential projects. The company aims to launch more projects here since a bulk of its land bank is also located in the province. It is also optimistic that residential sales will pick up in 2019 thanks to increased construction progress and soon to be launched new phases at Amoa, AboitizLand’s 60-hectare mid-market residential development in Compostela, Cebu and at Priveya Hills, a premium, exclusive, 60-hectare lots only development situated in Bacayan, Talamban, Cebu City.
Meanwhile, Aboitiz & Co.’s privately-held construction arm Aboitiz Construction, Inc. and its international arm Aboitiz Construction International, Inc. is further expanding its reach with projects lined up across the country. These include AboitizLand’s The Outlets in Lipa in Batangas, a storage facility in Subic, a power plant in Sarangani, a petrochemical plant in Bataan, and fabrication works for North American and Australian companies, among others. This year, the company expanded into the transmission and logistics markets after bagging negotiated contracts from LiMA EnerZone and MetroPacific Movers, respectively.
It has announced a need for 4,000 more workers to meet job orders and contracted projects in the next three to five years for local and international undertakings, adding to the more than 6,000 workers hired last year.