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JG Summit swings to loss as lockdowns hit operations

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JG Summit Holdings, Inc. incurred a P720-million loss in the first half of the year, along with an 89% decline in after-tax core profit because of the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic to some of its businesses.

The listed conglomerate on Friday said the impact of the public health crisis became more pronounced in the second quarter as harsh lockdowns continued to batter its operations, particularly in its airline, petrochemical, and property businesses.

Yet, it qualified that its diversified portfolio helped cushion the pandemic’s blow “with strong profits coming from food, banking, and core investments in telecoms,” according to JG Summit President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Y. Gokongwei.

The period’s net loss, which is a reversal of the firm’s P17.4 billion profit a year ago, came from a one-off mark-to-market valuation loss on fuel hedges and its share in Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) impairment on its investment in Singapore-based PacificLight Power Pte. Ltd. in the first quarter.

JG Summit’s food business operating margin and “better” net interest margins, and trading gains in its banking unit helped its core profit to stand at P1.4 billion, compared with the P13.4 billion it recorded in the same period in 2019.

It saw consolidated revenues down by 26% to P116.5 billion in the first semester.

By business segment, Cebu Pacific Air, Inc. posted a 61% drop in total earnings to P17.33 billion, pulled down by reduced passenger, cargo, and ancillary revenues.

JG Summit’s petrochemicals group saw its revenues plunge by 61% to P7.22 billion because of lower average selling prices and volumes.

The earnings decline in both segments was tempered by the topline growth in the conglomerate’s other businesses.

Universal Robina Corp.’s (URC) earnings slightly increased to P67.41 billion on the back of revenue growth in its sugar and branded consumer foods sales.

Robinsons Land Corp. also saw revenue growth of 3% to P15.22 billion, driven by a 66% earnings uptick in its residential division, though, this was offset by a 42% revenue decline from shuttered malls.

Its banking arm, Robinsons Bank Corp., posted a 23% increase in revenue to P4.79 billion, mainly due to higher interest income from finance receivables, which came from loans portfolio expansion and higher trading gains.

The conglomerate claimed having a “strong” balance sheet with gearing and net debt-to-equity ratios at 0.72 and 0.55, respectively, by end-June.

“With the strength of our balance sheet coupled with our organizational capabilities to quickly adapt to the new normal and respond to changing consumer needs, I am confident in our ability to compete and take advantage of emerging opportunities ahead,” Mr. Gokongwei said. Shares in JG Summit fell by 4.96% to close at P61.30 each on Friday. — Adam J. Ang





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