MANILA -- Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. (SLOCPI) is willing to invest around PHP1.5-2 billion on infrastructure projects to be identified by the government.

SLOCPI Chief Investment Officer Michael Gerard D. Enriquez told PNA they are willing to invest in two to three small ticket projects as part of the company’s bid to diversify its portfolio.

“We’re waiting for the government to launch more projects. We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to fund infrastructure,” he said.

Enriquez said they were considering projects like rail and toll roads as well as airports, which he pointed out, provided visible earnings unlike power projects.

In 2015, the company invested PHP500 million in a coal-fired power plant near Marawi City in Mindanao, which was originally scheduled to start operations in the third quarter of 2018.

Enriquez said there was a delay in the project’s construction “but everything is manageable.”

“It’s still a growing region. I think there would be more investments on its way to Mindanao. We’re quite in the right position there,” he said.

Enriquez said they have the available capital to invest in more infrastructure projects “but, again, there’s a lack of availability of projects to fund.”

Proponents and not the projects per se are also a major consideration in their decision on what infrastructure projects to invest in, he said.

Other considerations are the size of the project and how the company rate this internally “because we wanna safeguard the portfolio as well.”

“It’s critical as well that the Insurance Commission approves it...I think the Insurance Commission is quite supportive as long as it’s infrastructure,” he said.

Enriquez is also supportive of the government’s plan to issue infrastructure bond, noting that this “I think that should be good,” he said.

He added that yields from the securities will be lower compared to equities but risk is not an issue since this would be shouldered by the government.

SLOCPI President and Chief Agency Distribution Officer Alexander S. Narciso, in a briefing, said the company was open to investing in more infrastructure projects, citing the strength of their Canada-based mother unit - Sun Life Financial, Inc.

He said SLOCPI was in talks with various infrastructure-focused companies “but so far there are not definite deals yet.”

“Talks continue...we are in communication with them,” he said, adding that finalization of these deals “depends on how the government would like to execute or fund these projects.”

The Duterte administration has laid out a massive infrastructure plan that entails the funding of around PHP8.4 trillion projects until the end of its term in mid-2022. (PNA)