ABOITIZ Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) is setting aside P73 billion in capital expenditures (capex) in 2020, with its power and infrastructure units getting the biggest share, the holding firm said on Tuesday.

This year’s allocation is nearly 38% higher than the P53 billion spent in 2019, it added.

“Learning from the challenges we have been experiencing in the past year, we will continue to adhere to global standards of operational excellence,” AEV President and Chief Executive Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz said in a statement.

Over half of the total capex amount, or P41 billion, is reserved to Aboitiz Power Corp., a 17% jump from the P35 billion it spent in 2019. About 80% of this allotment will be used for the completion of the power plant units of GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co. and other new businesses.

With a P16-billion appropriation, Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. will set aside most of its budget for the construction of its water estates and its entry into airports and common tower businesses.

Last year, the infrastructure firm’s Davao-based project Apo Agua spent P3 billion. The project, once online, will supply 300 million liters of water per day to the Davao City Water District, servicing more than a million locals.

Meanwhile, Aboitiz Land will be using its P11-billion budget primarily for its land banking efforts to grow its property developments across the country.

Funds were also reserved for the expansion and operating expenses of Pilmico Food Group, with nearly P3 billion, and Union Bank of the Philippines, with around P2 billion.

AEV recently reported a 1% drop in net income to P22 billion in 2019, dragged down by its top contributing unit AboitizPower, which posted a 20% decrease in contribution to P13.3 billion.

The Aboitiz Group noted in its report to the Philippine Stock Exchange that it has a business continuity plan in place to stem the impact of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It has adopted travel, quarantine, and hygiene measures adhering to the guidelines set by the Department of Health and World Health Organization.

“The COVID-19 crisis created a lot of uncertainty but we believe the Philippine economy can be shielded from further disruptions if the government and private sector focus on areas of collaboration,” Mr. Aboitiz said. — Adam J. Ang