By Leo J. G. Uy Research Head
and Lourdes O. Pilar Researcher
PHILIPPINE COMPANIES continued to record double-digit earnings in 2018 despite last year’s challenges that included the almost runaway inflation that contributed to deceleration of the domestic economy and external risks.
Now on its 33rd year, BusinessWorld’s Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines ranks private and public stock entities according to gross revenue using the latest available full-year audited financial statements, which for most companies on the list pertain to their performance in 2018.
The Top 1000 roster is based on parent-only financial statements, in which parent firms record equitized earnings of their subsidiaries and associates.
This is different from a separate list ranking the country’s top conglomerates where consolidated financial statements are used. This was expanded to 100 firms in the latest edition from 50 in previous years.
Parent companies that made the cut earned a cumulative P12.92 trillion in gross revenue and P1.56 trillion in net income in 2018, 12% and 17.2% more than in the preceding year. These compare with the top-line and bottom-line growth rates of 11.7% and 6.4% posted in the previous ranking.
Top 1000 firms’ performance in 2018 also compares to that of the overall economy’s 10.2% growth in 2018 based on current prices. To recall, the Philippine economy expanded by 6.2% based on constant 2000 prices, which fell short of the low end of the government’s 6.5-6.9% target range for 2018.
Last year also saw inflation accelerating for nine straight months, peaking at a nine-year-high 6.7% in September and October. This brought the full-year 2018 average to a decade-high 5.2% against the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 2-4% target range for 2018. That prompted the BSP to raise benchmark interest rates by a total of 175 basis points that year.
For this year’s edition of the Top 1000, the gross revenue cutoff increased to P2.218 billion from the previous edition’s P2.023 billion, considering the financial statements that were collected.
San Miguel Corp. (SMC) grabbed the top spot on this year’s list. SMC earned P384.11 billion in gross revenue last year, twenty-four times more than P15.82 billion in 2017. The increase was caused largely by SMC’s share-swap transaction with San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc. (SMFB). A look at SMC’s financial statements showed the company recognizing a gain of P328.27 billion as part of its “Gain on sale of investments, property and equipment and others” from the exchange of shares.
Second on the list is SMC subsidiary Petron Corp., which recorded P360.81 billion in gross earnings (up 31.5%) and P351.38 billion in net sales (29.6%). Its net income, however, was down 29.2% to P6.34 billion.
In third spot was power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which made P297.97 billion in gross revenue and P291.80 billion in net sales, higher respectively by 8.2% and 7.3% from 2017. Its net income was also up by 19.9% to P24.25 billion. 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., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.
Rounding up companies in the fourth to 10th places were: Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., P219.82 billion; TI (Philippines), Inc., P163.04 billion; Philippine Airlines, Inc., P159.07 billion; BDO Unibank, Inc., P158.44 billion; Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., P151.31 billion; PMFTC, Inc., P146.98 billion; and Mercury Drug Corp., P144.67 billion.
There is also a separate table ranking the country’s top conglomerates. In the consolidated ranking, a parent company and its subsidiaries are treated as though they are a single entity. This year’s roster expanded to 100 firms from 50 in previous years.
The list of the top 100 conglomerates shows SMC and subsidiaries leading with P1.060 trillion in gross revenue in 2018, 24% more than in 2017. Top Frontier Investment Holdings, Inc. — San Miguel’s top shareholder — and its subsidiaries, as well as Petron Corp. and its business units, occupied the second and third rungs with gross revenues of P1.058 trillion and P562.72 billion, respectively, up by 24.1% and 28.9%.
In fourth to 10th placers were: SM Investments Corp. and subsidiaries, P454.06 billion; Ayala Corp. and subsidiaries, P325.38 billion; Meralco and subsidiaries, P309.32 billion; JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and subsidiaries, P293.92 billion; SMFB and subsidiaries; P287.78 billion; GT Capital Holdings, Inc. and subsidiaries, P215.83 billion; as well as Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. and subsidiaries, P200.14 billion.
All sectors posted gross revenue growth, with 12 out of the 17 showing double-digit increases. Gross revenues of manufacturers, which made up 35.4% of the 2018 total, grew by 8.3%, while those in the financial and insurance activities (15.1% share) as well as wholesale and retail trade (20.5% share), grew by 38% and 11.1%, respectively.
Multinational companies included on this year’s list made P4.58 trillion, 9.3% more than in the previous year and accounting for 35.5% of the Top 1000.
Exporting firms included in the Top 1000 recorded P2.15 trillion in revenues, 2.3% more than in the previous year.
BusinessWorld’s Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines can be purchased at select branches of National Book Store, Powerbooks, Fully Booked, Office Warehouse and Rustan’s Supermarket. You may also purchase a copy by calling BusinessWorld’s Circulation Department at (+632) 8535-9940. For the soft copy version (pdf), please visit bworldonline.com/bwdigitized.