EARNINGS of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) fell 5% in the first nine months of the year, as Petron Corp.’s profits took a hit from shrinking refining margins.

The listed diversified conglomerate showed in a presentation on its website yesterday its net income slipped 5% to P39.7 billion in the January to September period.

SMC did not disclose third quarter figures.

Year-to-date net sales were flat at P758.63 billion, versus P761.17 billion it recorded in the same period last year.

SMC’s operating income for the nine months also dropped 9% to P88.75 billion.

By business segment, Petron remained the biggest contributor to SMC’s earnings at P381.66 billion, despite seeing a 9% decline from the same nine-month period a year ago.

Petron earlier reported a 70% drop in net income to P3.6 billion “owing to prolonged depressed refining margins in the region and its refinery shutdown.” Although the earnings decline was tempered by a 2% rise in sales volume in Malaysia.

“We will continue to push for a level playing field in the industry where illicit trade persists. This level-playing field is what we hope will prevail throughout the country. We support government’s fuel-marking program and look forward to its implantation for all players,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said in a statement.

San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc. (SMFB) generated P226.37 billion in revenues, up 10% year on year, due to higher volume of its key products. SMFB said its segments all recorded growth — beer (11% to P103.88 billion), spirits (20% to P21.43 billion) and food (6% to P101.05 billion).

However, SMFB’s net income was flat at P22.92 billion in the three-quarter period as its poultry business has only started to recover in the third quarter.

The power business of SMC, which is operated by SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., contributed P105.14 billion in total revenues, 18% higher than a year ago.

The growth is driven by the 22% increase in off-take volume it recorded during the period, which stood at 21,581 gigawatt hours. This was traced to the higher bilateral sales volume of the company from improved operations at its power plants in the Sual, Ilijan, San Roque and Masinloc.

SMC Infrastructure reported a 9% drop in revenues to P17.79 billion in the nine-month period, mostly from the operations of toll roads which saw a 6% growth in vehicular traffic volume.

The packaging segment, through San Miguel Packaging Group, posted a 3% drop in revenues to P26.36 billion for the nine months. Shares in SMC were up 1.40 points or 0.83% to close at P169.90 each yesterday.

Meanwhile, in a separate disclosure, SMFB said its board of directors had approved a fixed-rate retail bond offering which aims to raise up to P15 billion.

The company has yet to finalize the terms of the offer, but said it will be registering the planned issuance with the Securities and Exchange Commission and list at the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. — Denise A. Valdez