Millennial bilyonaryo Lean Leviste was reportedly in talks with some of the world’s biggest players in renewable energy (RE) before he chose Metro Pacific Investments (MPI) led by Manny V. Pangilinan as his partner in SP New Energy Corp. (SPNEC).
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A Babbler said the signing between Leviste and Pangilinan for MPI’s P2 billion investment in SPNEC came after the Yale dropout had negotiated for the past several years not only with some of the world’s biggest fund managers but some of the big boys in power, specifically Total of France, Mitsubishi of Japan, and Korea Electric Power Co. (Kepco).
“Leviste was looking for more than a financial investor but a strategic partner operator to help build solar projects. Leviste had discussions with Kepco and Mitsubishi who are already partners with SPNEC in solar farms. But the most eager is Total, one of the world’s biggest investors in renewable energy, which is aggressively trying to get into the Philippines,” Babbler said.
Babbler said Leviste was aware of the pitfalls of getting a financial partner, which could abandon the company after seeing its convertible shares grow in value, because his game plan required somebody for the long haul.
Babbler said Leviste saw MPI as the “perfect fit” not only because of its diverse infrastructure holdings, specifically in power distribution (Manila Electric Co.) and generation (San Buenaventura Power, Cebu Energy, Panay Energy. Toledo Power, Panay Power, GBH Power, and Sarangani Energy).
With MPI, Leviste would get Pangilinan as chairman to add more gravity to SPNEC to pull in the big banks and big name investors to fulfill his grand plan
“He (Pangilinan) is not just an angel investor but a big brother to Leviste at a critical point in his road to building the biggest solar power firm not only in the Philippines, but in Asia. He ties everything up for Lean,” a Babbler said.
SPNEC can now sit with more confidence on the table with its other big-name partners Prime Power of ultra bilyonaryo Ricky Razon, ACEN of the Ayala family, Aboitiz Power and Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO).
“SPNEC can potentially build at least two mammoth solar projects with his gilt-edged backers,” Babbler said.
The deal is also a big win for MPI as its investment in SPNEC will give a boost to its RE expansion which could start delivering power in two to three years. Meralco was the first to give SPNEC large contracts seven years ago.
Babbler said Leviste’s longstanding ties with Pangilinan also made it easier for him to pick MPI. Leviste’s first and only job was as an intern in Meralco in 2013, or a year before he put up SPNEC’s parent, Solar Philippines.