FIRST GEN Corp. said on Thursday that its net income attributable to equity holders dropped by 7% to P13.7 billion last year, citing a decline in electricity sales and reduced earnings from its natural gas portfolio.

In disclosure to the local bourse, the Lopez group’s power generation arm said that its consolidated revenues from the sale of electricity decreased 15% to P91.2 billion year on year due to the effect of the global health emergency.

“While we are grateful that First Gen was marginally affected by the decline in power demand resulting from the pandemic, we are still looking forward to a better 2021. Not only do we expect the country to climb its way up to recovery,” First Gen President and Chief Operating Officer Francis Giles B. Puno said in a statement.

First Gen said all of the company’s platforms were affected by the decline in demand brought by the pandemic that resulted in lower power prices.

Last year, First Gen’s natural gas portfolio accounted for the majority or 59% of total consolidated revenues, while contributions from subsidiary Energy Development Corp. (EDC) made up 38%. First Gen said that the hydro plants made up 2% of its consolidated revenues.

First Gen said that earnings from its natural gas platform suffered a 7% decrease to P9.3 billion in 2020, following an unplanned outage of its 420-megawatt (MW) San Gabriel power plant that happened six months ago and higher income taxes after its income tax holiday expired last year.

The company added that low spot market prices affected the 100-MW Avion natural gas-fired plant, but this was “offset fresh earnings” from the start of its ancillary service contract in June 2020.

Meanwhile, attributable earnings from EDC, which handles the parent firm’s geothermal, wind and solar platforms, increased by 5% to P5.3 billion in 2020.

“EDC was able to save on operating expenses in contrast to several one-time expenses that occurred in 2019 due to the company’s reorganization. Moreover, the Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Feed-in Tariff rate adjustments from 2016 to 2020 for the Burgos Wind and Solar Projects,” First Gen explained.

However, EDC recorded a lower recurring attributable net income to its parent of P4.5 billion last year, down by around 13%, due to lower power demand.

First Gen said that its hydro platform’s attributable earnings contribution dropped by 90% due to lower prices in the spot market. But it said the drop was “mildly offset” by higher ancillary service sales.

Mr. Puno said that the company was gearing up for the construction of the country’s first liquified natural gas terminal by April, which will put it in a “good position” to expand its gas portfolio following the energy department’s moratorium on greenfield coal plants.

Shares of First Gen in the local bourse improved 0.16% or five centavos to close at P30.85 apiece on Thursday. — Angelica Y. Yang