Capital

P2.7 Billion IPO of Solar Company Founded by Loren Legarda's Son Gets Green Light

The company is developing the largest solar project in Southeast Asia.
IMAGE SOLAR PHILIPPINES

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have approved the initial public offering of Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corp. (SPNEC), which is developing a 500 MW solar project that is planned to be the largest in Southeast Asia. This is the first time that a renewable energy company will be allowed to list in the PSE under its Supplemental Listing and Disclosure Requirements for Renewable Energy (RE) Companies. 

The PSE 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 (DOE).

SPNEC plans to offer up to 2.7 billion shares of the company at up to P1 apiece, for a total of P2.7 billion. From that amount, P1.3 billion will be used to complete the first 50 MW of the project, while amounts raised in excess of P1.3 billion will primarily be used to acquire land to expand the project beyond 500 MW.

“The final offer price will be determined on November 23, 2021 after the company completes its bookbuilding process,” the PSE noted in a press release.

The target offer period is from December 1 to 7, 2021.

SPNEC was incorporated in 2016 and secured a DOE service contract to develop the project in 2017. It was founded by 28-year-old Leandro Leviste, the son of former Senator and current Antique Representative Loren Legarda. Leviste founded Solar Philippines, SPNEC’s parent company, in 2013 while a student at Yale University. Today Solar Philippines is regarded as the largest and only integrated solar developer, investor, manufacturer, and EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) solar company in Southeast Asia.

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SPNEC plans to start construction of the project before the end of 2021. A news release said that, once operational, “the project is intended to supplement the Luzon grid’s thin reserves and help prevent the rotating outages that affected millions of Filipinos earlier this year.”

“I am pleased that PSE can support a renewable energy (RE) company with its fundraising requirements,” PSE President and CEO Ramon S. Monzon. “The need for RE is more amplified now as more companies are turning to RE as part of their climate action program.”

“We thank the PSE and SEC for approving this IPO, which aims to give the public a new option to invest in RE and increase the RE capacity of the Philippines,” said Leviste.“We’ve decided to make this our group’s first venture into the public markets because this is the asset that we are proudest to showcase: a site where will rise the largest solar project in Southeast Asia, with potential for expansion given its proximity to Manila, to meet the growing demand for renewable energy in the Philippines.” 

Solar Philippines has a number of projects lined up that will produce up to 1 GW by 2022. These include projects in Batangas (63 MW) in partnership with Korea Electric Power Corporation, Tarlac (200 MW) in partnership with Prime Infra of the Razon Group, and two more in Batangas and Cavite (140 MW).

SPNEC has engaged Abacus Capital and Investment Corporation as issue manager and lead underwriter and Investment Capital Corporation of the Philippines as participating underwriter for this IPO.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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