POWER FIRM EYES INDUSTRIAL ESTATE: GBP lures four industries that could bring in P4-5B in investments

Jaime Azurin (right), president of Global Business Power Corp. (GBP), and Engr. Petronilo Madrid, GBP first vice president for Panay operations, discuss the company’s efforts to bring in real industrialization in Iloilo City. (F. A. Angelo)

By: Francis Allan L. Angelo

An independent power producer based in Iloilo City is poised to bring in at least four investors that will boost the industrial sector of Panay to the tune of at least P4 billion.

Jaime Azurin, president of Global Business Power Corp. (GBP), confirmed that they have been in talks with the four potential investors from different industries for almost a year now.

Azurin revealed the talks in a thanksgiving lunch for journalists at the Courtyard by Marriott-Iloilo Tuesday.

GBP owns and operates three coal-fired power plants in LaPaz, Iloilo City with a combined capacity of 314 megawatts. It also operates diesel-fired power plants in Iloilo City and Aklan.

Without revealing the names of the companies and exact portfolio, Azurin said the investors are into heavy industries and they could plunk in P4-5 billion in investments.

He added that the investors could spur the industrial sector which has been lacking in the city and province of Iloilo for decades.

Azurin observed that the bulk of power supply is consumed mostly by malls during peak hours, usually between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The consumption then tapers off in the evening, which means there is available supply that could power major industries that operate on a round the clock basis.

“The main concern of power generators are industries here in Panay Island because they are the ones who use power in the off peak (period). We continue to grow all our malls, we have so many of them, which uses power during the peak. The problem is where do we sell power during the off peak, during at night? That’s why to be able to maximize the efficient use of power plants, we need industries. So we have taken it upon ourselves to invite industries to come in here in Iloilo City. We think Iloilo City is the best in terms of infrastructure, facilities, power plant is there and we have a very good local government,” he said.

Azurin also cited the rich labor pool in Iloilo City because of the thousands of students it produces in various sectors.

“You have the resources, manpower, the knowledge. The biggest problem is a lot of Ilonggos are working abroad. The best way is to give them opportunity to work here by bringing in industries,” he added.

The GBP executive said they will give preferential rates to the investors “because these heavy industries are too dependent on electricity.”

Apart from stable power supply, GBP will also offer its 90-hectare property in Ingore, LaPaz, making it the first industrial estate in Panay.

“Cost, reliability, and stability, we can offer these three and then will just have to make good of attracting them by giving them good rates and allowing them to locate in our premises. We are trying to convert it to bring in more investors,” Azurin said.

Engr. Petronilo Madrid, GBP first vice president for Panay operations, said what attracts industries in Iloilo City are proximity to international ports and road networks.

“The environment and location of our property is very ideal,” Madrid said.