AC Energy (ACEN)—a subsidiary of billionaire Jaime Zobel de Ayala’s Ayala Corp.—has agreed to buy a 49% stake in Solar NT, a unit of Thailand’s Super Energy Corp. in Vietnam, for $165 million as the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate steps up its investments in renewable energy across Asia.
The acquisition of Solar NT—which will own and operate nine solar power plants across Vietnam with a total capacity of approximately 837 megawatts—marks the beginning of a strategic partnership between ACEN and Super Energy. The duo plans to expand their renewable energy footprint in Vietnam, while exploring other opportunities across Southeast Asia, AC Energy said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Super has accomplished a lot in Vietnam, and we wish to support its solar expansion in Vietnam and beyond through our partnership,” AC Energy president and CEO Eric Francia said in the statement. “This will help accelerate ACEN’s aggressive renewables expansion across the region.” Vietnam is one AC Energy’s key markets in the region, having built solar and wind projects in the country.
The Vietnam deal comes just days after ACEN and its partner UPC Solar Asia Pacific said on Monday that they are investing $220 million to build a solar farm in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The 420-megawatt peak facility will be the duo’s third and largest solar project in the country where AC Energy.
AC Energy has been stepping up its investments in solar energy to achieve its goal of becoming the largest listed renewable energy platform in Southeast Asia. It has over 3,000 megawatts of attributable electricity generating capacity across Australia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, with another 18,000 megawatts being developed organically and with various partners across the region.
The company is about 72% owned by Ayala Corp., which traces its roots to the Spanish colonial era. In 1834, billionaire Jaime Zobel de Ayala’s grandfather started a distillery in Manila and then expanded into banking, hotels, real estate and telecommunications.
Ayala, 87, was ranked the country’s fifth-richest person with a net worth of $3.3 billion when the list of the Philippines’ 50 Richest was published in September. He retired in 2006, and his eldest son Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who had been the CEO of Ayala Corp. since 1994, succeeded him as chairman. Last year, Fernando Zobel de Ayala took over as CEO, while his elder brother Jaime Augusto continues to serve as chairman. Fernando is also the chairman of AC Energy.