By Myrna M. Velasco
The core income of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) had risen 14 percent in the first half to P12.3 billion from last year’s P11.97 billion; while reported net income had been flattish at P12 billion.
For full-year prospects, the outlook set out by Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan will be a better financial performance that could potentially ramp up the country’s core income to the level of P23 billion from last year’s P22.4 billion.
“We are optimistic it will be a better year compared to last year,” he stressed, adding that it will be volume growth that will be the key driver that will propel the company’s continued favorable revenue stream for the second of the year.
“For July, it is relatively strong. The demand is really strong than June,” he said, expounding that such could be a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the year in terms of demand growth.
From January to June this year, the overall increase in energy sales had been logged at 5.0 percent to 22,823 gigawatt-hours from the year-ago level of 21,665 GWh. Total number of customers within the period had also risen by 4.0 percent to 6.7 million as of end-June this year.
On the company’s generated income for the first half, it was able to declare interim cash dividend of P5.464 per share, payable on September 30 this year. That represents 50 percent payout of core earnings.
Part of the company’s milestone this year will also be the commercial operation date (COD) of its 500-megawatt San Buenaventura Power Ltd. (SBPL) plant, its joint venture with Thai firm EGCO group. The facility is eyed reaching commercial operations mid-September this year.
Nevertheless, Meralco Chief Finance Officer Betty Siy-Yap indicated that “when SBPL starts, it will be the last quarter of this year, so in terms of meaningful addition to the bottom line of Meralco, it will be 2020.”
She qualified that for the initial year of operation of the power plant, “there would be more costs than revenues” that could be expected.
In the first six months of the year, the utility firm’s consolidated revenues reached P165 billion, roughly 10.5 percent higher than in the same period last year.
“We will continue to look into value and cash flow accretive opportunities in the energy supply chain within and outside the Philippines to the extent that these are consistent with laws and regulations,”Pangilinan said.