AbaCore acquiring firm with China-funded energy park project

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Listed firm AbaCore Capital Holdings, Inc. is set to acquire 90% of Simlong Energy Development Corporation (SEDCO), which is set to develop an energy industrial park in Batangas City funded by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday, AbaCore said its board approved the purchase of 900 million SEDCO shares worth Php1 each for a total of Php900 million. The purchase will make SEDCO an AbaCore subsidiary, as it would own 90% of the company.

Established in November 2013, SEDCO is supposed to build, develop, and operate new plants, natural gas terminals, pipelines for the distribution of energy products among other power-related endeavors.

In 2019, SEDCO signed a memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co. Ltd. (CPPEC) for the development and funding of the Simlong Energy Industrial Park project, which would form part of the AbaCore Energy Hub. 

Located in proximity to other energy firms’ natural gas plants and terminal projects, the AbaCore Energy Hub is planned to be an industrial location for energy-related projects like power plants and liquid natural gasification projects. Interestingly, it would also be a short drive away from the firm’s Montemaria International Pilgrimage and Conference Center property, which houses the world’s tallest statue of the Virgin Mary.

SEDCO also sealed an MOU with China Harbour Engineering Ltd. Co. (CHEC) for an unspecified project.

The partnerships with CPPEC and CHEC are part of the BRI, which aims to develop a massive infrastructure network centered on the communist nation and would stretch from East Asia to Europe. The BRI has been deemed controversial due to “debt trap” claims. In 2017, Sri Lanka signed a lease agreement with China for its Hambantota Port for 99 years because the government was unable to service the loans they acquired from China to build the port.

CPPEC is a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation and the primary builder of pipelines in China, while CHEC is an engineering contractor and a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company, which provides infrastructure construction and is the second largest dredging company in the world. 

AbaCore is currently led by its President and CEO, former Marinduque Rep. Regina Reyes, who is the wife of Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas. The firm started as a coal mining company and has expanded into leasing of coal and gold mining, gaming equipment, real estate, and financial services. 

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