MPIC profits down 6% in Q1 amid Covid-19 ECQ

By Leslie Gatpolintan

May 6, 2020, 8:55 pm

MANILA – Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) on Wednesday reported a 6-percent decline in profit in the first quarter of 2020 as various businesses were affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“The shutdown has been very sharp and it’s immediate,” MPIC Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said in an online press briefing, adding the ECQ significantly affected its transportation-related business.

The MPIC said its consolidated core net income reached PHP3.43 billion in the first three months of 2020 from PHP3.66 billion during the same period last year.

The quarantine reduced toll road traffic, suspended rail services, and decreased commercial and industrial demand for water and power resulting in a decrease in contribution from operations of 5 percent, it said.

Power accounted for PHP2.87 billion or 62 percent of net operating income in the first quarter; Tollroads contributed PHP918 million or 20 percent and Water contributed PHP859 million or 18 percent. Contributions from Hospitals, Rail, Logistics and other businesses offset each other.

Its power business shared PHP2.9 billion to core net income in the January to March period, a 7-percent increase, driven largely by Global Business Power Corporation (GBPC) and lower borrowing cost in Beacon Electric Holdings, Inc. owing to loan prepayments in 2019.

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) recorded profit of PHP918 million in the first quarter, down 18 percent from PHP1.1 billion last year, as a result of lower traffic on all roads due to the implementation of the ECQ as well as higher interest costs on increased borrowings.

Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. (MPHHI) president and chief executive officer Augusto Palisoc Jr. said revenues of hospital business declined as much as 50 percent during the first two weeks of the ECQ.

“(It’s) quite a big impact. (In) hospitals, there’s out-patient and in-patient. Outpatient (was) affected, people not inclined to go to hospitals, doctors afraid to hold clinics, clinics are closed… In-patient, earlier part of the quarantine period, we saw an increase in utilization of beds but that has gone down a bit right now. Surgeries are not being done anymore,” he said.

The ECQ has been imposed on Metro Manila from March 15 and the entire Luzon from March 17 until May 15, 2020.

In a statement, Pangilinan said "our first ever fall in year-on-year quarterly earnings is understandable, but overall, I believe the strength of our portfolio, most especially power and water, has been demonstrated in the face of the pandemic, and despite investors’ stated concerns on regulatory issues.” (PNA)