FIRST Gen Corp. has secured approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to increase its authorized capital stock to P11.6 billion from P8.6 billion by creating new preferred shares, the Lopez-led energy company told the stock exchange on Tuesday.

The company said the move “will provide increased financial flexibility.” It did not disclose the specific projects that will benefit from the capital raising.

First Gen will be creating 300 million “Series H” preferred shares with a par value of P10 per share, thus raising P3 billion to boost its finances.

The new shares come as the company moved forward its plan to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal within its energy complex in Batangas City, which also houses its gas-fired power plants.

The approval comes nearly a year after the company’s board of directors approved the amendment to the seventh article of its amended articles of incorporation to raise capital through the creation of new preferred shares.

On March 19, First Gen said its unit FGEN LNG Corp. received formal approval of its application for a “notice to proceed” from the Department of Energy for the construction of its LNG terminal in the First Gen Clean Energy Complex in Batangas City.

The notice is a requirement under the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Regulation.

First Gen is one of the biggest independent power producers in the country and the leading gas power generation company in the Philippines with around 2,000 megawatts (MW) in operating gas assets.

Its four gas-fired power plants are the 1,000-MW Santa Rita power plant, the 500-MW San Lorenzo power plant, the 414-MW San Gabriel power plant, and the 97-MW Avion power plant, all of which operate on the Malampaya gas supply.

The First Gen’s LNG terminal project is intended to serve the natural gas requirements of existing and future gas-fired power plants of third parties and the company’s affiliates.

Shares in the company closed 1.4% or 30 centavos higher at P21.70 each on Tuesday. — Victor V. Saulon