PANGILINAN-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) expects the higher billed volume of its power and water subsidiaries to boost the listed holding firm’s net income for the third quarter.

“[Our results] are higher than last year,” MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on Friday, citing the higher volume billed by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and Maynilad Water Services, Inc.’s “slightly increased to flattish” water billed volume.

Mr. Pangilinan did not give specific figures.

In the first half of this year, MPIC’s attributable income declined 8.6% to P9.5 billion from P10.39 billion a year ago. The group’s operating revenues grew by 12.1% to P24.29 billion in the first six months from P21.66 billion last year.

According to MPIC’s report, Meralco exceeded its pre-pandemic volume growth in the year’s first half.

Maynilad saw higher demand from residential customers but at a lower average tariff rate due to the closure of non-essential businesses. It said water consumption started to pick up in the second quarter.

In 2021, MPIC posted third-quarter operating revenues of P10.51 billion, 1.4% higher than P10.36 billion in 2020. In the same year, its third-quarter attributable net income rose by 0.6% to P1.99 billion from P1.98 billion in the previous year.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pangilinan said MPIC is looking forward to venturing into the agri-food business.

“We should allow MPIC to develop its own agri-food businesses first before we rationalize,” Mr. Pangilinan said, talking about his shares in listed sugar and ethanol producer Roxas Holdings, Inc.

“Right now, it’s just our business, but I think we are looking at several agri-food ventures, which hopefully in the near future we could announce,” Mr. Pangilinan added.

Roxas Holdings’ primary purpose is to operate mill and refinery facilities to manufacture sugar and allied products. Its subsidiaries include Central Azucarera Don Pedro, Inc., Central Azucarera de la Carlota, Inc., Roxol Bioenergy Corp. RHI Agri-Business Development Corp., Roxas Pacific Bioenergy Corp., and San Carlos Bioenergy, Inc.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Oct. 10, Roxas Holdings said Mr. Pangilinan holds 4.9% or 61,574 of the direct shares in the company.

MPIC, which has a majority stake in Maynilad, is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Justine Irish D. Tabile