Ayala Corp still keen on renewable energy

Posted at 11/05/09 11:05 AM

MANILA - Ayala Corp. remains interested in the renewable energy business as well as in highly extensive investments like mining, the company’s top officials said yesterday.

In a roundtable discussion with reporters, the conglomerate’s chairman and chief executive Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said while the mining and power sectors remain attractive to them, the group’s commitment to sustainable development and innovation would play a stronger role and should have a greater impact on the decision-making process.

“There’s renewable power. We just can’t say we don’t want to venture into this industry because we need all these resources for the betterment of the people. There’s a better way of doing them. Our partners or the companies we plan to bring in are also demanding it,” he said.

He said the company is still open to exploring opportunities in the renewable energy business. “ That’s actually very interesting. It’s something we like to do if given an opportunity.”

Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Corp. president and chief operating officer, said the company’s goal of achieving sustainable development could have resulted in limited investment choices but believes those are “tough choices we need to make” to do business more responsibly.

The Ayalas have long been trying to enter the energy sector, particularly in clean and green energy. Earlier reports said they were interested in investing in the Lopez family’s geothermal crown jewel, Energy Development Corp. (EDC).

It was earlier reported that the conglomerate had long been trying to break into the energy sector, but did not want to acquire coal-fired power plants, which were the ones mostly on the government’s auction block.

Analysts said the Ayala Group is in a good position to acquire assets in a tough business environment. But unlike other moneyed groups, the conglomerate has just been very quiet and focusing on its existing businesses over the past years.

Today, it is one of the biggest, most respected, and most widely diversified conglomerates in the Philippines, with leadership positions in real estate development, banking and financial services, telecommunications, electronics and information technology, water infrastructure development and management, and car dealership.