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Business

First quarter results

EYES WIDE OPEN - Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

The first quarter corporate results are out and it looks like a lot of companies are well on their way to recovery. Here are some companies worth mentioning as their stories are far beyond just posting net income growth, but are also about soldiering on during the pandemic, helping the government fight COVID-19, and keeping their employees safe and employed.

Better days for Consunji-led DMCI Holdings

The last time I had a chat with engineering tycoon Isidro “Sid’ Consunji or IAC was sometime in March, just after DMCI Holdings, the Consunji family’s listed holding company which he chairs, just recorded its highest ever profit in history – a whopping P17.4 billion for 2021, up by 164 percent from P6.6 billion in 2020, on the back of surging commodity prices and recovering electricity rates.

At the time, I congratulated him for DMCI’s performance and with his Macallan-laden humor, he jested:

“You ain’t seen nothing yet!” We burst out laughing.

And then IAC, quickly returning to his usual modest self, said I shouldn’t take his words seriously.

But I did and indeed, I ain’t seen nothing yet because two months later, DMCI Holdings would report an even stellar first quarter 2022 income growth, its highest ever for any given quarter – a 165-percent increase in first-quarter earnings to P11.3 billion from P4.3 billion a year ago.

This was driven by the robust operating results of its coal, nickel, and power businesses amid rallying commodities and electricity spot prices.

It wasn’t like this in the past quarters when DMCI even reported net income declines.

At the height of the pandemic in July 2020 when the situation seemed so bleak, I remember IAC saying “all crises will come to an end.”

“We don’t know exactly when, but we know it will be over and there will be better times ahead of us. We just don’t know when,” he said at the time.

Fast forward to 2022 and indeed, times are so much better for DMCI.

During the annual stockholders meeting of DMCI on Tuesday, chairman IAC said, “looking back at 2021, I am still in awe of what our people accomplished. In the middle of a global health crisis, they set new records for productivity and sales.”

Casino players are back at Solaire

Another company that is recovering well is Bloomberry Resorts, owner and operator of Solaire and Jeju Sun in Korea.

Bloomberry reported a net income attributable to parent of P686.7 million in the first quarter of the year, reversing a net loss of P771.2 million a year ago and marking the first time in eight quarters the company posted positive net earnings, driven by domestic mass gamers who have once again given in to the irresistible lure of gaming tables and slot machines.

Back in 2020, you could not have imagined this happening. In fact, ports and casino tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., Bloomberry chairman and CEO, said as early as March of that year that he was writing off 2020.

Despite the bleak times for the company then, that didn’t stop the Razon Group from leading the procurement of Moderna vaccines for the country, which were rolled out to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in a very efficient manner.

Manila Water breaks records

Speaking of Razon-led companies, Manila Water broke records in terms of non-revenue water or NRW at 12 percent as of March 2022 – among the lowest in Asia and way below the World Bank recommendation of 25 percent or lower. Manila Water’s net income is down for the quarter, but its strong NRW record is worth noting.

NRW is water that has been produced, but is wasted due to several factors such as pipe leaks, illegal connection, pilferage, and use of fire hydrants.

Manila Water president and CEO Jocot de Dios, a lawyer and former Department of Energy undersecretary, said that Manila Water has a comprehensive NRW program to reduce water losses in its distribution lines.

This is good news to Manila Water customers, as this will further allow the company to bridge supply gaps and be able to meet the demands of its growing customer base for clean water.

Reducing NRW involves leak detection; pipe replacement; meter inspection and calibration; as well as the quick resolution of incidents and responsive coordination with stakeholders, such as third-party contractors, national government agencies, local government units, and other entities.

The company also reported that since 1997, east zone residents have seen significant improvements in their water and wastewater services. From delivering only 440 million liters per day in 1997, Manila Water has recovered water losses to deliver over 1.5 billion liters of water daily to 7.3 million residents.

Conglomerates

The conglomerates are recovering as well. Ayala grew its net income to P7.8 billion in the first quarter of the year, up 45 percent; Metro Pacific reported a consolidated core net income of P3.1 billion, up 23 percent, while SM Investments Corp. saw its first quarter net income rise by 27 percent to P12 billion. GT Capital reported an 18 percent growth in core net income to P4 billion.

DoubleDragon

Tycoon Edgar “Injap” Sia II’s listed holding company DoubleDragon Corp. for its part, has already surpassed its 2022 goal of having 1.2 million square meters of gross floor area of completed recurring income portfolio.

Things are indeed looking up. Unfortunately post-election uncertainties and the volatility in the US markets have affected the market recently, overshadowing the rosy first quarter gains.

But when presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announces his economic team and if members are deemed competent enough, market investors may have more reasons to cheer.

 

 

Iris Gonzales’ email address is [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @eyesgonzales. Column archives at eyesgonzales.com.                                                                

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