Sembcorp buys into Changi solar energy firm

Two airfreight terminals near Changi Airport will soon be running on renewable energy supplied by conglomerate Sembcorp Industries.

The mainboard-listed firm's unit Sembcorp Utilities has acquired 49 per cent of Changi Mega Solar for $2.6 million.

Changi Mega Solar is developing a photovoltaic system that will provide renewable power directly to Sats Airfreight Terminals 5 and 6. Photovoltaic systems generate electricity by using semiconducting materials that create voltage when exposed to light. The facility is expected to start operating at the end of the year.

Sembcorp said in a statement: "With distributed solar energy likely to play a greater role in future energy solutions, this investment reflects the company's commitment to providing diverse and innovative solutions to our customers."

It noted that worldwide, the company has a power portfolio of more than 10,000MW, comprising thermal and renewable assets.

It said it is "growing its renewable power business globally and its green energy portfolio includes wind, solar and biomass energy as well as energy-from-waste facilities, spanning Singapore, China, India and Britain".

The acquisition, to be funded internally, is not expected to have a material impact on the earnings per share and net asset value per share of Sembcorp Industries for the financial year ending Dec 31.

The firm has been hit by the continued downturn in the oil and gas sector, which dragged down its marine and offshore engineering businesses in the quarter to Sept 30.

However, the utilities division posted a profit gain of 21 per cent, thanks to a better performance by operations in China, India and the Middle East.

More recently, firmer oil prices and expectations of a production freeze at the upcoming Opec meeting have given offshore marine and energy plays like Sembcorp a boost.

Sembcorp Industries shares closed three cents higher at $2.75 yesterday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline Sembcorp buys into Changi solar energy firm. Subscribe