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September 7, 2008

Manila to repay power debt ahead of time
The Philippines plans to repay around $200 million of the National Power Corp's (Napocor) debts this month ahead, earlier than scheduled, to turn around the finances of the power firm, Reuters quoted a government official as saying Friday.

The amount to be repaid was owed by Napocor to the Japan Bank for International Corp and the Asian Development Bank,

Lourdes Alzona, vice president for finance at the state's Power Sector Assets & Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM), told Reuters.

PSALM is the state agency tasked to oversee the sale of the country's power assets.

The latest repayment is part of the $2.4 billion debt of Napocor, which the government wants to repay ahead of schedule or refinance.

The company had made at least two other debt repayments totalling $437 million earlier this year. As of June this year,

Napocor's total debt stood at $6.62 billion in various currencies.

Napocor, the Philippines' largest power producer, has turned around its finances in recent years, partly due to the successful sale of its power plants, including three auctioned last year for around $1.9 billion.

It has also ended seven years of losses in 2005 due to higher power charges, cost-cutting and foreign exchange gains from a stronger peso

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