EARNINGS of listed conglomerate Filinvest Development Corp. inched up 3% to P8.9 billion in the three quarters through September, supported by its robust banking and sugar businesses despite the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement over the weekend, the Gotianun family-led company said its total revenues and other income fell 9% to P57.1 billion during the nine-month period.

However, the topline decline was offset by its efforts to temper direct costs, which stood at P15.6 billion, or down 36% from the same period last year.

By business segment, its banking operations through East West Banking Corp. generated a net income of P5.8 billion, rising 32% from its contribution a year ago. The company attributed this growth to improved margins in its core lending and deposit-taking businesses and higher gains from trading.

The real estate business, represented by Filinvest Land, Inc. and Filinvest Alabang, Inc., continued suffering from the lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Its net income contribution dropped 15% to P5.1 billion, as sales and rental revenues both declined during the period.

Revenues from selling lots, condominium and residential units dropped 55% to P7.2 billion, as some of its projects were delayed by the suspension of construction work in mid-March. It also rolled out a grace period for payments to buyers, and generally recorded lower take-up than last year.

Revenues from rent were likewise 4% lower at P5.1 billion, as the company endured mall closures and waived payments for tenants.

FDC Utilities, Inc., the group’s power subsidiary, recorded a net income growth of 3% to P1.8 billion. While its revenues for the nine months fell 17% to P6.4 billion, it said it controlled its operating expenses to decline 29% to P1.52 billion.

While the other segments remained profitable, the group’s hotel business, through Filinvest Hospitality Corp., swung to a P487-million net loss from a P266-million net income last year. Its revenues slid 59% to P981 million due to a dampened tourism industry because of the pandemic.

“We are pleased with the strength and resilience of the Filinvest Group. Our banking and sugar businesses covered the gap caused by the hospitality and real estate businesses, which are the most affected by the pandemic-related government restrictions,” Filinvest President and CEO L. Josephine G. Yap said in the statement.

“[W]e are confident that our balanced portfolio can withstand the current crisis and we are prepared to take advantage of opportunities when the current situation turns around,” she added.

Filinvest’s debt-to-equity stood at 0.94:1 at the end of the nine months, while its net debt-to-equity was at 0.39:1.

Shares in the company closed at P9.48 each on Friday, up 35 centavos or 3.83% from the earlier day. — Denise A. Valdez