By Myrna M. Velasco
Owing primarily to robust sales growth, the core income of power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) had climbed 11-percent to P18.5 billion in the last nine-month stretch from P16.7 billion in the same period last year.
The power distribution firm, on the other hand, had logged flattish reported net income of P18.3 billion in January to September this year.
The company’s level of profitability within the specified period had translated to core earnings per share of P16.373; and resulted in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of P29.8 billion which is 12-percent higher than last year.
The utility firm’s consolidated sales volume had grown to 35,005 gigawatt-hours within the three-quarter financial review; with the residential segment posting the highest jump of 8.0-percent; followed by commercial end-users of which demand had expanded 6.0-percent. Industrial customers also registered increase in sales volume at the scale of 5.0-percent.
Across customer segments, the commercial subscribers account for the bulk of end-users served by Meralco with a share of 39-percent; then the residential customers with 31-percent fraction in the pie; while industrial customers had 29-percent share.
Meralco emphasized that what has been notable in its sales volume expansion was the shift in the 2nd and 3rd quarters when it comes to fetching higher sales growth which it is mainly attributing either to variability in temperatures, weather disturbance or the start when the manufacturing sector is already ramping up production.
Onward, Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said “we anticipated sustained growth for Meralco resulting from the country’s continued overall economic expansion as well as growth that will follow the government’s ongoing infrastructure development programs.”
On the overall volume growths in Meralco sales as well as its subsidiary Clark Electric Distribution Corporation (CEDC), he noted that such had served as “surprises” as the utility firm still awaits regulatory approvals on their applications for programmed capital expenditures.
In terms of sustaining sales momentum, Pangilinan emphasized that “manageable inflation together with increased liquidity in the financial system provides opportunities for growth across all customer segments.
He stressed “there is no doubt there will be domestic economic expansion with the expected improvement in government public investments in the coming months, in addition to the inflow from remittance of our overseas Filipino workers.”
By next year, the company is expecting cash shoring up from its power generating subsidiary Meralco PowerGen Corporation with the recent commercial operation of its 500-megawatt San Buenaventura power facility in Mauban, Quezon – its joint venture with Thai firm Electricity Generating Public Company Ltd. (EGCO).
The San Buenaventura power project reached construction phase in 2015 – and it was partly financed by a P42.15 billion loan, which at that time was considered as the Philippines’ largest all-peso transaction put together by a consortium of local banks.
With Meralco PowerGen having majority equity in the project, its sales of electricity from the plant would be contributing greatly to Meralco’s top and bottom lines next year.