Meralco core net income rises 10% to P27 billion

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) reported a 10.2% increase in consolidated core net income to P27.11 billion in 2022 from P24.61 billion a year earlier as strong energy sales exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

“Record high in revenues and billed volume as well,” Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a virtual briefing on Monday, describing the listed electricity seller’s performance last year. “It was a good accounting for a major portion of the national power system and power demand in the country.”

Betty C. Siy-Yap, the company’s senior vice-president and chief finance officer, said energy sales increased by 6% to 48,916 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2022 from 46,073 GWh in the previous year, driven by sustained growth across all customer segments.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Meralco’s consolidated energy sales were recorded at 43,572 GWh, down from 46,871 GWh in 2019.

Reported net income, which is adjusted to exclude one-time charges, reached P28.43 billion, up by 21% from P23.50 billion a year earlier.

For the year, Meralco reported consolidated revenues at P426.53 billion, up by 33.9% compared to P318.55 billion recorded in 2021.

The share of the commercial segment in the sales mix continued to increase, the power distributor said. It accounted for 36% of total energy sales last year from 33% in 2021. Residences contributed 35%, down from 37%, while the industrial segment’s share was recorded at 29% from 30% in 2021.

In power generation, PacificLight Power Pte. Ltd. recorded a core net income of P12.1 billion, significantly higher than the P2.2-billion profit in 2021.

Meralco unit Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen) owns 58% of PacificLight, which owns and operates a combined cycle turbine power plant in Jurong Island, Singapore.

Power generation subsidiary MGen contributed P5.5 billion to Meralco’s consolidated core net income in 2022, higher than the P1.2 billion seen in 2021.

CIS Bayad Center, Inc. contributed P67.2 million to Meralco’s consolidated core net income.

Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corp., the engineering and construction arm of Meralco, and its two units contributed about P427.6 million to Meralco’s revenue.

The company’s costs and expenses also increased by 40.5% to P406.35 billion from P289.21 billion a year ago.

“We hope to improve on those profit, financial numbers this year but it’s too early to say [and] to provide any guidance but [the] first month was quite good and certainly better than last year’s first month,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

Consolidated capital expenditures hit P42.6 billion, higher by 54.9% than P27.5 billion in 2021, driven by the distribution utility’s projects.

The company also reported a 7% increase in its customer count to 7.63 million in 2022 from 7.41 million previously.

Meanwhile, Meralco’s average retail rate went up 15.5% to P9.52 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) from P8.24 per kWh due to an increase in pass-through charges amid high global fuel prices, as well as higher spot market prices and peso depreciation.

At the local bourse on Monday, shares in the company gained P5.60 or 1.81% to end at P314.80 apiece.

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 an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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