By Arra B. Francia
Senior Reporter

ABOITIZ Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) is working on growing its infrastructure and food units to contribute at least 10-15% of its earnings, in a bid to reduce the conglomerate’s reliance on its power business.

AEV Chief Financial Officer Manuel R. Lozano said his personal goal is to bring down the power business’ contribution to less than 50% by 2025.

“Eventually what we’d like to see is that our subsidiaries like cement, food, financial services, infrastructure, would become 10-15%, or even up to 20% so that power does not dominate so much,” Mr. Lozano told reporters in a press chat over the weekend.

“My personal goal, dapat by 2025 we should be less than 50% in power. But that’s not easy cause power is also trying to grow, so that means the others have to grow fast.”

For the first half of 2019, Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower) accounted for 67% of AEV’s net income. Banking and financial services contributed 24%, while food, infrastructure, and land generated six percent, two percent, and one percent, respectively.

With a 16% drop in AboitizPower’s core net income in the first half of 2019, AEV’s core net income also lost 16% to P8.9 billion. Consolidated net income for the six-month period was likewise down by 11% to P9 billion.

Mr. Lozano expects infrastructure unit, Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. (AIC), to be the next big contributor to AEV as it is currently working on airport projects and a common towers agreement with telco operators.

AEV is awaiting approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for its unsolicited proposal to expand the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental.

“(The team)’s hope is that it will be done by August. We’ll see. They are regularly in contact with DOTR (Department of Transportation) and NEDA,” Mr. Lozano said.

The company has also proposed to expand the Bohol Panglao International Airport. It has been awarded original proponent status for both projects, which will then have to undergo Swiss Challenge.

AIC has also partnered with Frontier Tower Associates Philippines, Inc. (FTAP) to build and operate common cell towers around the country. The tandem struck a deal with Ayala-led Globe Telecom, Inc. for the roll out of common towers in Cebu, Davao, and Olongapo.

“We will be using existing assets that are with the group. So we already have poles and wires with our utilities, we have other locations already that have potential. We have some infrastructure that can be used. We are also looking at the major telcos if they are selling,” Mr. Lozano said.

So far, only cement manufacturer Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc. is generating income for AIC.

Meanwhile, AEV is banking on Pilmico Foods Corp.’s acquisition of Singapore-based agribusiness firm Gold Coin Management Holdings Ltd. to increase its income contributions moving forward.

“Pilmico now with the Gold Coin should help also accelerate their growth. That should probably be 10% already in the near future,” Mr. Lozano said.

Pilmico completed its acquisition of 100% of Gold Coin last May for $550 million, expanding its footprint in the Asia-Pacific region as the latter operates 20 livestock and aqua feed mills across 11 countries in Asia.