EAST ZONE water concessionaire Manila Water Co. Inc. reported a 4% increase in its consolidated net income to P1.3 billion for the first quarter, despite lower contributions from its domestic subsidiaries.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Friday, Manila Water’s concession earnings were at P1.63 billion during the first quarter of the year while its revenues rose by 9% to P5.5 billion.

The water company’s costs and expenses declined by 30% to P1.3 billion, despite the 15% increase in direct costs due to the P534-million penalty imposed by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the water supply shortage last year.

The 15% increase in direct costs was driven by higher chemical costs with the operations in Manila Water’s Cardona treatment plant as well as increased power costs for the energization of new deep wells.

Meanwhile, domestic operations under Manila Water Philippine Ventures recorded a net loss of P151 million for the first quarter.

The company attributed the loss to the lower contribution of Estate Water caused by its lower supervision fees.

“The decline was primarily the result of the change in accounting treatment for said fees, but also in part by the stoppage of projects due to the enhanced community quarantine,” the statement said.

Manila Water Asia Pacific also reported a net loss of P193 million due to the additional expenses in relation to its investment in Cu Chi in Vietnam.

Manila Water said the recognition of additional expenses in the Vietnam project was partially offset by the increase in equity share in net income of associates, which stood at P219 million, 6% higher than last year.

Locally, the company has suspended meter reading activities in its service areas and deferred the due date of customer bills for 30 days.

The water concessionaire also implemented business contingency measures for continuous operations despite the enhanced community quarantine.

“As we face the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we should work even more closely with our partners and stakeholders so we can continue to provide reliable service. Only by working together can we find safer, more effective and innovative ways of serving our customers under this new normal,” Manila Water President Jose Gregory D. Almendras said.

On Friday, shares in Manila Water rose by 8.55% to close at P12.70 each. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave