May 4, 2023 – ACEN (PSE: ACEN), the listed energy platform of the Ayala group, today reports that its consolidated revenues for the first quarter of 2023 rose 23% to PHP9.1 billion as a result of higher net generation due to better wind resources, as well as the start of commissioning of new power plants in the Philippines and in Australia. ACEN’s consolidated net income grew 5x year-on-year without the short-term headwinds encountered in 1Q 2022, reaching PHP2.0 billion during the quarter as ACEN moved to a modest net selling merchant position. This was tempered by increased borrowing costs and overhead as the company accelerated its renewables expansion.
Financial and Operating Highlights
Attributable earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), which includes ACEN’s share of EBITDA from non-consolidated associates and joint ventures, increased 76% to PHP4.6 billion in the first quarter of 2023.
Buoyed by a move to a modest net merchant selling position, Philippine operations contributed PHP1.9 billion to EBITDA, a 188% rise year-on-year without the impact of a customer buyout fee and Visayas curtailment from the same quarter in 2022. Meanwhile, International EBITDA grew 38% to PHP2.8 billion with the partial commissioning of the first phase of New England Solar in Australia, stronger wind regime in Vietnam, and improved geothermal availability in Indonesia.
Total attributable renewables output showed double-digit growth, rising 20% to 1,058 GWh in the first quarter. Renewables generation from Philippine operations increased by a significant 31% to 310 GWh with the absence of the prior year’s curtailment in the Visayas, driven by new operating solar capacity and a stronger wind regime in the north. On the other hand, greater wind resources in Vietnam drove the 15% increase in International output to 748 GWh, with contributions from the partial commissioning of New England Solar Phase 1 in Australia and improved geothermal availability in Indonesia.
Eric Francia, ACEN president and CEO, said: “After weathering several challenges in 2022, we began the year with encouraging results brought about by the growth in generation output. We expect to grow our net selling merchant position further, with more capacity scheduled to come online in the second half of the year. As our renewable energy investments begin to bear fruit, ACEN is now on a stronger footing as we continue working towards our aspiration of reaching 20 GW of renewables by 2030.”
Consolidated assets increased modestly to PHP233.7 billion, but long-term investments grew 8% to PHP118.6 billion as the company continued its renewables build-out. Total liabilities increased by 8% to PHP89.7 billion as ACEN availed more corporate debt to fund renewables expansion during the quarter. Nevertheless, the company’s leverage ratios remain strong at a gross debt-to-equity (D/E) ratio of 0.50x and net D/E of 0.26x.
Cora Dizon, ACEN chief financial officer, said: “The strong financial results reflect the resilience of our strategy to expand renewables capacity, supported by a robust balance sheet. ACEN’s strong cash position and diverse mix of financing options continue to enable the achievement of our 2030 aspirations.”
In March, ACEN signed a partnership with BrightNight, a US-based renewable power company, to develop, construct, and operate at least 1.2 GW of large-scale hybrid wind-solar and round-the-clock renewable power projects in India.
That same month, ACEN, through joint venture company UPC Power Solutions LLC, signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement with GlidePath Power Solutions LLC for the acquisition of a portfolio of eight operating wind projects totaling 136 MW in northern Texas, USA, subject to regulatory approvals. This milestone marks ACEN’s anticipated entry into the fast-growing American renewables market as it expands its geographic footprint beyond the Asia Pacific region.
Net Zero Commitment
ACEN recently announced the completion of a robust Net Zero roadmap that includes near-term emission reduction targets aligned with the GHG Protocol and the latest climate-science and long-term targets that are consistent with the deep decarbonization of the power sector. This makes ACEN the first energy company in Southeast Asia to take this critical step towards achieving Net Zero, providing an accountable and transparent framework for monitoring progress.
Read more about ACEN’s Net Zero Roadmap here.