• Meralco 2016 core net income up 4% at P19.6B

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    THE country’s biggest power distribution utility Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said its audited consolidated core net income in 2016 grew 4 percent to P19.6 billion from P18.9 billion in 2015 on higher electricity sales and improved contributions from subsidiaries and affiliates.

    Consolidated net income rose marginally to P19.2 billion from P19.1 billion in 2015.

    Meralco President and Chief Executive Officer Oscar Reyes told reporters in a news conference on Monday the
    positive earnings performance was due to a number of factors, led by a buoyant economy.

    “Number one, the economy was buoyant and strong with growth at around 6.8 percent. We had much warmer temperatures particularly during the first five months of 2016. Low inflation, low interest rates, so favorable for consumers and at the same time we saw remittances from overseas Filipinos as well as revenues of BPOs and knowledge outsourcing services continuing to increase,” he said.

    Electricity sales in 2016 reached 40,142 gigawatt hours (GWh), up 8 percent from 37,124 GWh in 2015.

    Its total customer base crossed the 6 million-mark, a 4-percent growth from the previous year. Meralco ended the year with 6.04 million customer accounts, of which 254,288 were new accounts including 40,000 comprising the first batch of prepaid meters approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

    Residential demand grew by 12 percent, commercial by 8 percent and industrial by 4 percent.

    Gross revenues dipped by a marginal 0.5 percent to P257.2 billion. Electricity revenues totaled P249.2 billion, slightly lower than the P249.8 billion recorded in 2015, accounting for 97 percent of gross revenues.

    Betty Siy-Yap, Meralco senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the company’s board of directors approved on Monday a final cash dividend of P9.30 a share and special cash dividend of P5.22 a share, or a final cash dividend of P4.08 a share to all shareholders of record on March 27, payable on April 21, 2017.

    “2017 will see expected headwinds of higher oil, coal and commodity prices, rising interest and inflation rates, a weakening of the Philippine peso and anticipated cooler temperatures with the onset of La Nina. These will require the company to move to a higher trajectory of customer service excellence and operational outperformance,” Meralco Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.

    Cash flow from operations for 2016 reached P35.4 billion while free cash as at the end of 2016 amounted to P13.9 billion. Total interest-bearing debt stood at P40.3 billion at the end of 2016, of which P1.6 billion is due within one year. Total debt incurred by Meralco’s subsidiaries was P2.2 billion.

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