State Grid Group Is Upbeat On Philippine Bid
China's State Grid Corp. is confident it will get approval for its consortium's bid to operate the Philippine power grid, the biggest privatization in that country and the giant Chinese utility's first overseas foray.
State Grid was part of a consortium, including the Philippines' Monte Ore Grid Resources, that made the winning $3.95 billion bid on Wednesday to develop and run the national electricity grid for 25 years. The bid is more than double the size of the previous biggest privatization in the Philippines and represents a major step forward in Manila's energy-privatization plans.
The consortium still must get a franchise to operate from the Philippine Congress, where opponents of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will likely challenge it. Already, some politicians have made allegations of bid rigging, which Philippine officials have denied.
'We prepared everything according to government and power authorities' laws and regulations. We think our proposal matches their needs,' said Sun Jinping, director general of State Grid's international-cooperation department.
State Grid is the world's largest utility company, with 2006 revenue of 852.9 billion yuan ($115.6 billion) and profit of 26.9 billion yuan. With assets of 1.2 trillion yuan, it is one of the biggest companies in China.
The company was founded in 2002 as part of China's efforts to overhaul and streamline its power grids, which had been managed by provincial governments with competing interests. State Grid now operates 88% of China's power network. Keeping up with China's expanding economy, the company added the equivalent of the total installed electricity capacity of France last year.
China's growing presence in the Philippines is drawing scrutiny. Earlier this year, a $330 million contract with Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment Corp. was canceled after corruption allegations. China State Construction Engineering Co. is trying to clear its name following bid-rigging allegations connected to World Bank loans, which it has denied.
State Grid's Mr. Sun said the company will use its experience in managing a fast-growing network in the Philippines. 'We could sharply increase the reliability of their network and reduce blackouts. We've developed a lot of our own technology. It's already mature and proven,' he said.
State Grid has long been a target of speculation that it may be listed, in what would be one of China's biggest public offerings.
'There are a lot of rumors,' Mr. Sun said. 'It's a complicated question, and not only for us to decide.'
中国国家电网公司(State Grid Corp.)表示，对自己所在财团投标菲律宾电网运营权获批有信心，这次竞购是菲律宾规模最大的私有化行动，也是这家中国电力巨头第一次海外扩张。
国家电网所在财团成员还包括菲律宾的Monte Ore Grid Resources。周三，该财团以39.5亿美元的竞标价格赢得菲律宾电网25年的开发和经营权。这一价格是菲律宾此前私有化项目最高价格纪录的两倍多，也意味着菲律宾能源领域的私有化进程向前迈出重要一步。
该财团还须获得菲律宾国会特许才能行使经营权，而国会中总统阿罗约(Gloria Macapagal Arroyo)的反对派很可能提出异议。一些政客已断言，投标活动中有串通行为，但政府官员已予否认。
中国在菲律宾的业务扩展招致外界更多的审视。今年早些时候，中兴通讯(Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment Corp.)在该国一桩3.30亿美元的合约因涉及腐败指控被迫取消。中国建筑工程总公司(China State Construction Engineering Corp.)也被指在世界银行(World Bank)贷款项目招标中存在串通行为。该公司否认有此情况，现正设法澄清自己。