First Gen income soars to $151 million
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Lopez-led First Gen Corp. boosted its nine-month earnings by 50 percent to $151 million (P7.9 billion) on the back of higher energy sales from its gas-fired power plants.

Recurring net income jumped 45 percent to $180 million (P9.4 billion).  The company’s natural gas platform surged and delivered recurring earnings of $140 million (P7.3 billion) versus the previous year’s $87 million (P4.4 billion).

In particular, First Gen’s 420-megawatt (MW) San Gabriel flex plant benefited from markedly higher dispatch and revenues as it sold power in the spot market at attractive prices in the first half.

The plant also started supplying its full capacity to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) under its power supply agreement beginning third quarter.

“We are pleased to report that First Gen’s sizable investment in new capacity with the modern San Gabriel plant started serving the power needs of Meralco’s customers in the third quarter,” First Gen president and COO Francis Giles Puno said.

“We are happy to report that San Gabriel delivers a low-cost source of electricity to Filipino consumers. Contrary to perception, First Gen is clearly proving the price competitiveness of clean low-carbon natural gas-fired power versus more polluting coal-fired power even at full baseload dispatch,” he said.

Apart from the performance of its gas plants, First Gen also attributed the improved financials to the lower interest expenses and higher interest income as a result of its deleveraging initiatives.

Savings in interest expense likewise offset unrealized foreign exchange losses and higher deferred taxes, First Gen said.

First Gen’s consolidated revenues from the sale of electricity went up 14 percent to $1.5 billion (P76.2 billion).

Of the total, the natural gas portfolio accounted for 63 percent or $919 million (P47.9 billion), which increased 18 percent due to higher volume sales and prices.

Contribution of geothermal, wind and solar revenues from subsidiary Energy Development Corp. (EDC) accounted for 33 percent or $476 million (P24.8 billion) of the total revenues.

EDC’s revenues inched up by nine percent due to the recovery of its Unified Leyte plants from the impact of Typhoon Urduja last year.

FG Hydro, owner of the 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric plants, reported flat revenues at $29 million (P1.5 billion). The hydro plants account for only two percent of First Gen’s total consolidated revenues.

“EDC made a respectable recovery in the third quarter as its portfolio of renewable energy power plants enjoyed higher sales volumes and prices with the recovery of its Unified Leyte plants from the effects of the previous year’s natural calamities.

FG Hydro, however, experienced low sales in the third quarter. This is expected to reverse in the fourth quarter as recent rains have filled its water reservoir,” Puno said.

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