By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE Aboitiz Group is laying off employees as a way to cope with the financial impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In an e-mail to BusinessWorld, Aboitiz Group said the company has conducted a review of its operations amid the challenges posed by the current crisis.

“Part of the review (of operations) is the rationalization of its workforce, where, regrettably, several team members will be affected by their service ending on July 31, 2020,” the company said.

“They will receive a substantial separation package to support them through this transition,” it added.

The Aboitiz Group did not respond to questions on how many employees will be affected.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV), the listed holding company of the Aboitiz Group, posted a 42% drop in net income to P2 billion in the first quarter due to operational disruptions from the pandemic-induced lockdown.

Its power arm Aboitiz Power Corp., which made up for 55% of its net income, contributed 43% less to AEV’s first-quarter earnings at P1.6 billion. The decline is attributed to power outages and lower selling prices.

“This was not an easy decision for the Aboitiz Group to make but one that had to be done as it has not been spared by the health and economic crisis,” the company said about the layoffs.

“It is still not clear on how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last but we share everybody’s hope that a vaccine will be developed soon,” it added.

The government reported some 7.25 million Filipinos were already jobless in April, up by 4.98 million year on year.

Last month, the Labor department said some 10 million workers may lose jobs this year due to the pandemic.

Shares in AEV at the stock exchange fell P1.35 or 2.73% to P48.15 each on Tuesday.