MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) is likely to have performed better in 2018 than in the previous year, with 2019 further improving because of expectations of a stronger economic growth, its chairman said.
“[20]18 is higher than [20]17,” Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters about the power distribution utility’s sales performance last year.
Asked whether sales managed to grow by double digits, he said: “[It’s] difficult to say.”
“Last year was quite good in terms of sales volume. So in a way Meralco — I know the group of Al Panlilio pushes hard to get the customers on board — but in many respects it’s mainly driven by GDP (gross domestic product) growth,” Mr. Pangilinan said, referring to Alfredo S. Panlilio, Meralco’s senior vice-president who handles, among others, the expansion of the utility’s customer base.
“Energy demand is a function of GDP growth. In fact, you can calculate that roughly half of GDP growth in real terms is more or less equal to the Meralco volume growth… It has been higher than that in recent years. [When the] economy was growing quite fast, Meralco was also growing quite fast,” Mr. Pangilinan said.
In the third quarter of 2018, Meralco reported core net income of P5.84 billion, up 11.2% from P5.25 billion in the same period last year but lower than that of the second quarter as revenues slowed in part because of the cooler temperature.
Reported net income, which includes one-off items, reached P6.24 billion during the third quarter, higher by nearly 15% from P5.43 billion a year ago.
In the nine months to September, Meralco reported a core net income of P16.69 billion, higher by 8.6% from P15.37 billion a year ago. Reported profit rose 14.3% to P18.21 billion from P15.93 billion previously.
Sales volume reached 32,921 gigawatt-hours (GWh), net system input was at 34,815 GWh, while peak demand hit 7,399 megawatts registered on May 23, 2018, which compares with Luzon’s peak demand of 10,876 MW recorded on May 28, 2018.
Consolidated gross revenues reached P227.41 billion, or 6% higher compared with the previous year’s P214.39 billion.
“We’re quite optimistic about this year (2019), generally speaking. I think prospects for the economy has improved — inflation down, probably interest rates will follow, increases will be tempered,” Mr. Pangilinan said.
Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Victor V. Saulon