Lawmaker pushes for buyback of China’s 40 percent share in NGCP

Lawmaker pushes for buyback of China’s 40 percent share in NGCP

A lawmaker is seeking the buyback of the 40 percent share of China’s State Grid Corp. in the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the operator of the country’s power grid.

During a hearing of the House Energy Committee yesterday, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said there should be no foreign ownership in the NGCP since it is a matter of national security.

“We should buyback the 40 percent, either government buys it or a Filipino company. There must be no foreign ownership,” Suarez said.

Private firm NGCP began managing and operating the national grid in 2009 after winning a bidding for the 25-year concession from the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo).

The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) has a 40 percent stake in NGCP. Other members of the consortium are Henry Sy Jr.’s Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. with 30 percent, and Robert Coyuito Jr.’s Calaca High Power Corp. with 30 percent.

The energy committee deliberated on House Resolution (HR) 280, which pushes for a review of foreign participation in the country’s power grid.

Apart from the buyback, the bill also wants to restrict the current owners from buying the 40-percent stake, and will prevent having one single major shareholder of NGCP.

“Somebody else other than Sy and Coyiuto,” Suarez said. He added that SGCC should have regained its investment by now.

“In fact, they did not pay in full but in installments and then they started earning revenue right away. I did not get it yet how they paid the $3.9 billion. Until now the Napocor debt is still huge. Where was the money spent?” he said.