By Denise A. Valdez, Senior Reporter
METRO PACIFIC Investments Corp. (MPIC) anticipates its full-year core net income to end at a little over P10 billion, down from its P15.6-billion finish last year, as recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is seen to take until 2022 to go back to 2019 levels.
It likewise reported core net earnings of P2.4 billion in the third quarter, about 37% lower from a year ago, although better than the previous quarter’s P1.9 billion.
In a virtual media briefing on Wednesday, MPIC President and CEO Jose Ma. K. Lim said the traffic at its toll roads has improved to close to its 2019 average since quarantine rules were eased in June.
“The performance in the third quarter was mainly improved due to the resumption of traffic in the tollroads,” Mr. Lim said. “In the case of power and water, volumes are still recovering… There has been more improvement in toll roads.”
In a statement to the stock exchange, MPIC said its year-to-date attributable earnings dropped 58% to P5.01 billion, which it pinned on the economic contraction stemming from the government’s response to the pandemic.
Core net income for the nine months fell 38% to P7.7 billion, as all MPIC’s business units recorded bottomline declines, while rail, hospital and logistics posted losses.
“With the continuing economic recovery, albeit slower than any of us would want, we guide core net income to be in excess of P10 billion for the full year. This will be substantially lower than in 2019,” MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said.
The power business contributed P7.6 billion or 67% to the company’s net operating income for the period. Water added P2.6 billion or 23%, toll roads pitched in P1.6 billion or 14%, while the rest, namely rail, hospitals and logistics, posted a consolidated loss of P413 million.
“This earnings mix reflects our growing dependence on Meralco (Manila Electric Co.) until our tollway network expansion is completed and Maynilad (Water Services, Inc.) is able to resume paying dividends,” Mr. Lim said in the briefing.
“We will aspire by 2022 to be somewhere around 2019 profit levels,” MPIC Chief Finance Officer David J. Nicol added.
By business segment, MPIC’s power business posted a 15% lower income contribution of P7.6 billion, because of the continuing reduced operations of commercial and industrial facilities.
Despite the quarter-on-quarter improvement of toll roads, its income contribution of P1.6 billion for the nine months is still down 56% year-on-year. This is due to a breakeven in the second quarter when the business recorded zero profits.
The water businesses’ P2.6 billion income contribution is likewise down 19% from a year ago. MPIC linked this to the lower average tariff for residential consumers against commercial and industrial customers.
“Q3 core net income is P2.4 billion,… and we hope to be better than that in the fourth quarter,” Mr. Nicol said.
In a separate stock exchange disclosure on Wednesday, MPIC said its board of directors has approved entering into a P14.5-billion 10-year loan from Philippine National Bank. The proceeds from the facility will be used to refinance the company’s existing loans.
MPIC shares closed at P4.04 apiece on Wednesday, up four centavos or 1% from the last session.