DMCI sees drawn-out recovery, as vaccination 'only starting'

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2021 02:43 PM

MANILA – Diversified construction conglomerate DMCI Holdings said Tuesday it does not see itself returning to pre-pandemic performance anytime soon amid the current pace of the country's rollout of vaccines.

At the company's virtual annual stockholders meeting, DMCI Holdings chairman and president Isidro Consunji said the company will continue to feel the effects of the pandemic this year.

"Considering that the vaccine rollout is only starting and probably end by the first quarter of next year, so the side effects of this pandemic will probably end up to the end of 2022. So pre-pandemic economic conditions will probably begin at 2022," Consunji said.

The government is targeting to vaccinate 58 million Filipinos by the end of this year, down from an earlier target of 70 million, to achieve herd immunity. But as of May 16, only 719,602 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, representing just 1.24 percent of the target after more than 2 months.

Consunji said, they expect their different lines of business, which span construction, energy, water distribution, property development, and mining, to only regain their pre-pandemic levels by 2022 or even 2023.

This was despite a stellar performance by DMCI Holdings in the first quarter of this year, after its real estate and coal mining businesses boosted net profit by 590 percent to P4.3 billion.

"DMCI Power will probably continue its steady growth, DMCI Mining will also continue because as long as the Indonesian coal ban continues and today's bullish China market, I hope will stay buoyant," he said.

"DMCI Homes will probably be back to its pre-pandemic levels by 2023. DMCI Construction probably next year if we win some of the big-ticket items in the 'Build, Build, Build' program of the government," Consunji added. 

"Maynilad will probably be on track by the end of this year because we are hopeful that the revised concession agreement will be shortly approved."

Consunji said their integrated energy and coal mining business will bounce back this year because coal prices have gone up, but the price of electricity will be down and is projected to remain low in the next two to three years.

He noted, the company may not attain pre-pandemic profitability this year but regain 75 percent of what it's been earning before the health crisis.

Consunji also shared they plan to participate in more big-ticket infrastructure projects in the years ahead.

"We intend to participate in 'Build, Build, Build' projects but as a joint venture partner and/or a subcontractor, considering that these projects will not allow DMCI participate as a single entity. JICA requires Japanese participation and the pre-qualification requirements of ADB will necessarily involve a foreign partner," he noted.

DMCI Holdings is planning to invest up to P41.7 billion in capital expenditures this year, higher by 48 percent from the P28.2 billion it spent in 2020.

Its property development business will get nearly half of the spending, while the water distribution unit is set to receive the second biggest chunk.

The rest would go into its mining, energy, and construction segments.

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