Singapore group sees downturn as acquisition opportunity

Singapore’s Asiatic Group is in talks with up to five parties to build small scale renewable power plants in Southeast Asia, and sees opportunities amid the economic downturn to acquire cheap assets.

“I foresee that Asiatic will be going regional — we’re looking at countries like Malaysia, even Singapore where there is potential,� Asiatic Managing Director George Tan said. �If there are opportunities we will come in.”

Asiatic won a US$475 million contract in late June to supply power for 99 years to an economic zone in Cambodia and also secured a joint contract in July to build and operate the 44-MW Coc San-Chu Linh hydroelectric complex in Vietnam.

The group has completed the construction of two heavy fuel power plants in Cambodia but wants to build more hydropower, wind, or biomass plants. Tan said the economic downturn could provide acquisition opportunities.

“If there’s a good plant we might gain from this financial crisis by acquiring them and take advantage of this sort of opportunities,� he said. �It makes sense to acquire these projects.”

The engineering and energy firm, which started out as a distributor of pumps and then moved into marine firefighting, now wants to focus on renewables plants in the region where it sees higher demand on rising gross domestic product, population growth, and urbanization.

Vietnam hydro complex to begin construction by year end

The Coc San-Chu Linh hydro complex in Vietnam is Asiatic’s single largest power project to date. Asiatic reported in May its Colben Energy Holdings (Vietnam) Ltd. subsidiary signed an agreement with Lao Cai Mineral Co. (LCMC) to review LCMC’s 1.4-MW hydro project in Coc San commune of Lao Cai Province with plans to expand it. (HNN 5/29/08)

In July, Asiatic said Colben would invest US$6.3 million for a 51 percent stake in joint venture company Colben Energy (Vietnam) Joint Stock Co. (CEVJSC). CEVJSC is to design, build, own, and operate the US$62 million hydro complex in two phases.

Phase 1, the 33-MW Coc San hydroelectric plant, is to begin construction in the last quarter of 2008 after concluding a connection agreement and power contract with Electricity of Vietnam. It is to go on line in mid-2011. Phase 2, the 11-MW Chu Linh hydro plant, is to go on line in late 2012 after 18 months of construction.

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