Five People Dead, Six Missing in Landslide at Philippine Project

Five people were killed and six are missing following a landslide at the site of a power project in the central Leyte province of the Philippines.

Two weeks of intermittent rain triggered the landslide this morning at Energy Development Corp.’s Upper Mahiao geothermal project, the company said today in an e-mailed statement. A search is on for the missing workers, who were employed by contractor First Balfour Inc., it said.

Upper Mahiao is part of the Leyte geothermal production field, the largest wet steamfield in the world, according to Energy Development’s website. It has 29 production and 10 reinjection wells.

Separately, Energy Development suspended its 110-megawatt Bacman power plant in Albay province, weeks after it was restarted following more than a year of repairs, it said in a stock-exchange filing earlier today. It first shut a 55-megawatt unit of the Bacman plant after it started to vibrate. A turbine blade was found to have sheared off and the second unit was also suspended for inspection, it said.

The Bacman plant located in the Philippines’ Luzon island was expected to contribute as much as 4.3 billion pesos in revenue this year, President Richard Tantoco told shareholders in a meeting in May.

“More than the impact on revenue, I’m worried about the reputational issues these developments may have,” Bernard Avinante, analyst at Manila-based Wealth Securities Inc, said by phone.

Bond Sale

Energy Development plans to sell as much as 7 billion pesos ($172 million) of 10-year bonds and sign a $100 million loan by end of this month to fund a wind-farm project in Ilocos Norte province, Chief Financial Officer Nestor Vasay told reporters today in Manila. Energy Development signed a deal with Vestas Wind Systems A/S today for the supply of 29 wind turbines for the $300 million, 87-megawatt project, scheduled to be completed next year, he said.

Shares of Energy Development, the nation’s largest geothermal generator, fell 11.4 percent to 6.72 pesos at the close in Manila, its biggest decline since April 13, 2009. First Gen Corp., parent of Energy Development, dropped 8 percent. First Philippine Holdings Corp., majority owner of First Gen, declined 7 percent.