The company said it was interested in pursuing three forthcoming auctions for the 246MW Angat plant, 100MW Binga plant and 75MW Ambuklao plant.

First Gen Corp’s acquisition streak began small with the purchase of the 1.6MW Agusan plant for US$1.5M in 2004, which achieved financial close in 2005. Late last year the company bought the 100MW Pantabangan and 12MW Masiway hydro plants for US$129M.

The Pantabangan and Masiway plants contributed US$11M in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) between being acquired on 18 November and the end of the 2006 financial year on 31 December. Revenues from the two plants – Masiway being immediately downstream of Pantabangan on the Casecnan river – were US$13M and net income was US$6M, contributing 7% of the company’s net earnings.

First Gen Corp plans to both upgrade and expand the two plants at an estimated cost of US$100M. The upgrades will see 30MW and 1MW added to Pantabangan and Masiway, respectively, at a budget of US$25M. The two units at Pantabangan are to be upgraded by December 2008 and December 2009.

Afterward, the company plans to increase the capacities of the plants by adding 65MW at Pantabangan and 13MW at Masiway by mid-2010. The expansion is budgeted at US$600,000 per MW, or almost US$47M.

In expanding its hydro portfolio, however, the company failed late last year to beat off competition with a US$420M bid for the biggest plant auction to date – the 360MW Magat station. The successful bidder was the Norwegian-Philippine JV firm SN Aboitiz, which offered US$530M.

Beyond its acquisition strategy, First Gen Corp is also pursuing its own mini hydro projects. The company has plans to build a total of 170MW capacity in 12 run-of-river projects by 2011-2012.