The agency is selling the state-owned 75MW Ambuklao (three 25MW units) and 100MW (four 25MW units) Binga schemes, which were the first hydro plants built in the country, in the late 1950s, it said. The plants are built on the Agno river in Northern Luzon, the Binga being 19km downstream of Ambuklao.

PSALM aims to sell the two plants together in a single bid package. Interested parties have until 14 September to register. The pre-bid conference is 26 September, and tenders are anticipated to be taken by late November, PSALM said.

Earlier this year a local power company, First Gen Corp, which had already acquired hydro plants from PSALM, said that it was planning to pursue further acquisitions – including Ambuklao and Binga, and it also mentioned the 246MW Angat plant. Last year, First Gen Corp bought the 100MW Pantabangan and the 12MW Masiway plants for US$129M.

In April, First Gen Corp was beaten in the auction for the 360MW Magat plant, which was bought by a Norwegian-Philippine JV, SN Aboitiz Power. The JV plans to uprate the plant and is proposals are currently being assessed for a loan by the International Finance Corp (IFC).