MPIC’s earnings drop to P7.7B due to pandemic

Published November 5, 2020, 5:00 AM

by James A. Loyola

Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC)  reported a 38 percent drop in consolidated core net income to P7.7 billion in the first nine months of 2020 from P12.5 billion in the same period last year.

In a press briefing, MPIC President Jose Ma. K. Lim said the lower profit is largely due to the economic contraction stemming from the Philippine Government’s response to COVID-19.

“The resulting quarantines reduced toll road traffic, closed and then reduced rail services, and decreased commercial and industrial demand for water and power resulting in a 30 percent decline in contribution from operations,” he added.

“The decline in our earnings during the first nine months of 2020 is mainly due to COVID-19 movement restrictions which affected transportation and transportation-related businesses. Our power and water operations fared much better and service levels have been maintained,” said MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Power accounted for P7.6 billion or 67 percent of net operating income, its highest-ever proportion; Water contributed P2.6 billion or 23 percent, and Tollroads contributed P1.6 billion or 14 percent.

MPIC’s other businesses, mainly Hospitals, Rail, and Logistics, incurred an overall loss of P413 million. 

“We have come through the most difficult nine months we have ever seen and on the far side of it we find ourselves in decent financial shape,” Lim said.

He noted that, “The robustness of our operations, even in the depths of this crisis, reflects a decade and more of sustained capital investment that had been delivering continued expansion in our overall customer coverage up until the pandemic struck and the Government imposed quarantines to save lives.”

MPIC’s third quarter core net income rose 26 percent to P2.4 billon from the second quarter of 2020 when quarantine measures were at their most stringent.

“I expect this recovery to accelerate further in the final three months of the year. As of now we have no sight of revised concession terms for Maynilad, but I am hopeful of a solution being agreed in the near term,” Lim added.

Pangilinan said “I am encouraged by the partial recovery in our earnings in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, and it was especially pleasing to see MERALCO’s volumes for the month of September this year exceed the figures for September 2019.” 

“With the continuing economic recovery, albeit slower than any of us would want, we guide core net income to be in excess of P10 billon for the full year. This will be substantially lower than in 2019.

However, due to prudent financial management at MPIC and our major operating companies, we are well placed to maintain our final dividend per share just as we did for the interim dividend,” he added.

MPIC’s power business contributed P7.6 billion to core net income for the first nine months of 2020, 15 percent lower than last year, with reduced contributions from both MERALCO and Global Power. 

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation recorded core net income of P1.6 billion for the first nine months of 2020, down 56 percent from P3.7 billion a year earlier as a result of lower traffic on all roads due to the implementation of community quarantines and interest costs on increased borrowings. 

MPIC’s water business through Maynilad contributed P2.6 billion to core net income for the first nine months of 2020, 19 percent lower than last year, with reduced contribution from Maynilad. 

Light Rail Manila Corporation reported a core loss of P493 million in the first nine months of 2020 following the suspension of operations for 2.5 months due to the strict community quarantine.  Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc.’s consolidated core income declined 77 percent to P262 million for the first nine months of 2020 as the pandemic resulted in a sharp drop in the number of patient admissions and outpatient census and significant increases in personnel costs and medical supplies.