MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) posted a core net income of P11.4 billion in the first half, up by 8% year on year, on the back of higher revenues from its joint venture project San Buenaventura Power Ltd.

“We ended the first half of 2021 with consolidated core net income of P11.4 billion, about 8% better than last year. Our reported net income was close to P10 billion, 45% better than 2020,” Meralco Senior Vice-President and Chief Finance Officer Betty C. Siy-Yap said on Monday during the firm’s virtual briefing on its financial and operating results.

Separately, Meralco said in a regulatory filing that its core net income was higher because of higher volume and contributions from San Buenaventura Power, which has developed a 500-megawatt power plant in Mauban, Quezon.

The firm added that its reported net income, which excludes one-off items, increased in the months ending June since there were previous recorded impairments in equity investments.

“Last year, we recognized a full impairment of the balance of the carrying costs of our investment in PacificLight [Power Pte Ltd.], which amounted to P2.7 billion,” Ms. Siy-Yap said, referring to its unit’s investment in the Singapore-based electricity retailer.

Gross revenues for the first half climbed by 8% to P149.1 billion.

Ferdinand O. Geluz, Meralco first vice-president and chief commercial officer, noted that consolidated energy sales were up by 7% in the first semester.

Residential households accounted for 37% or 8,370 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of the sales mix. Commercial and industrial establishments made up 33% or 7,440 GWh, and 30% or 6,781 GWh, respectively.

Mr. Geluz said during the briefing that Meralco “saw [the] continuing trend of stay-at-home and working-from-home [arrangements] in residential, and the strong optimistic growth in industrial,” which he said was back to pre-pandemic level.

“So, it’s better than our 2019 numbers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Meralco spent P13.1 billion for capital expenditures (capex) during the six-month period.

The company said that of the total networks capex of P7.3 billion in the first half, 65% covered new connections and load growth, 26% went to asset renewals and the balance was spent to support the government’s Build, Build, Build projects and Meralco’s electrification program.

Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said that although he was “quite concerned” about the recent spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus disease, which could lead to more lockdowns, he remains “optimistic” about the firm’s revenues.

“I think we’re quite optimistic that profits will be ahead,” he said during the briefing.

The company earlier announced that it is on track to achieve 100% electrification in its franchise area, adding that it was able to hit its target of powering up more than 530 priority sites.

Meralco said that it had allotted at least P1 billion for its electrification program, with the majority allocated for the southern portion of its coverage area.

The company’s shares inched down by 0.74% or P2 to finish at P267 apiece on Monday.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., which has interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Angelica Y. Yang