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The Philippines, among the world’s most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, plans to increase the share of renewable energy in its total power mix to 50% by 2040 from 22% as of 2022. Photo: Bloomberg

Citicore Renewable Energy Corp. aims to build more solar power plants to secure over half of the Philippines’ total capacity in five years, its chief executive said, as the company joins a growing group raising funds to ride the country’s green energy push.

Citicore is seeking to raise up to P5.3 billion ($90 million) in an initial public offering that closes on Friday. That’s the largest by a domestic renewable energy company in nearly two decades, but just about a third of Energy Development Corp.’s P16.7-billion share sale in 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company cut its public offer size after selling a stake in Citicore Energy REIT Corp. to SM Investments Corp. in March.

An affiliate of major Philippine construction firm Megawide Construction Corp., Citicore is prepared to spend P175 billion over the next five years to build 5 gigawatts of solar power capacity, CEO Oliver Tan said. The company’s pipeline of solar, wind and hydropower projects with a combined capacity of around 10.4 gigawatts will be operational by 2028.

The Philippines, among the world’s most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, plans to increase the share of renewable energy in its total power mix to 50% by 2040 from 22% as of 2022. It’s seeking to cut its reliance on fossil fuels by taking advantage of the archipelago’s abundant renewable energy resources.

In the past 14 months, three of the five IPOs in the Philippines, including Citicore, have been renewable energy companies seeking to bankroll projects.

“Our shift to renewable energy is actually for the survival of our country,” Mr. Tan said in an interview on Wednesday. “It’s energy security, energy independence.”

Ahead of Citicore in listing were Repower Energy Development Corp. and Alternergy Holdings Corp., which raised P1 billion and P1.47 billion, respectively. Shares of Repower were up 1.4% while those of Alternergy have dropped 48% from their public offer prices.

Citicore’s portfolio of 285 megawatts as of end-2023 accounts for about a fifth of the Philippines’ installed solar capacity. Bigger peer ACEN Corp., a unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., has 964 MW of installed solar capacity and plans more projects in the country. Citicore is building smaller solar plants in multiple locations and planting crops below the panels to maximize land use, said Joan Cosico, chief investor relations officer.

Citicore’s first gigawatt should be on stream by next year, although hitting expansion targets may face challenges, said Nicky Franco, vice president for research at Abacus Securities Corp.

“Further out, it gets murky because land acquisition or conversion can take time and right of way plus permitting for transmission lines can take even longer,” Mr. Franco said. “But construction is in CREC’s DNA so it’s an IPO we are quite positive about especially for long-term investors.” — Bloomberg

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