Metro Pacific optimistic of P12-B profit this year despite Delta variant threat

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2021 06:51 PM

MANILA – Despite the threat of the Delta variant, Philippine infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) said it is confident of hitting its P12 billion profit guidance this year.

Metro Pacific reported an 82 percent jump in core net income to P3.5 billion in the second quarter of 2021 when compared to the same period last year.

This was led by strong energy sales from Meralco as well as improving traffic figures for its toll road unit.

MPIC president and chief executive officer Jose Ma Lim said all of the company’s businesses are doing well, especially the hospitals. 

"They have already learned how to adjust to COVID. In the first lockdown they were severely affected, and in fact they lost money in most instances, but by comparison they have recovered almost normal operations and profitability," Lim said.

The conglomerate operates the Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Davao Doctors Hospital, and several other major hospitals across the country. 

The group's hospital unit is also bracing for an eventual surge of COVID-19 patients amid the local spread of the more transmissible Delta variant of the new coronavirus.

"We are prepared as can be but obviously with the Delta variant we could expect a significant surge which would stretch even our capacities," said Jeffrey Staples, chief operating officer of Metro Pacific Hospitals.

"We're beginning to see an uptick but I wouldn't call it a surge. I think our COVID occupancy is still around 50 percent so we have significant excess capacity which is underutilized but I expect, if the virus does really kick in, that will fill up over the next coming weeks or so," he said. 

Staples shared that 98 percent of their healthcare workers have already been vaccinated.

Lim said the group is also prepared for the looming hard lockdown in Metro Manila and other economic hubs in the country as they're set to implement alternative work arrangements during the 2-week enhanced community quarantine starting August 6.

"For those who are fully vaccinated, we are asking them to report on a rotational basis, certain days of the week, so that the office is manned properly. But still, we encourage everyone to have regular testing and wearing of PPEs," he explained.

Lim also shared, 100 percent of Metro Pacific employees have already received at least one vaccine dose while 80 percent have gotten two doses.

For its other business segments, Maynilad's workforce is 40 percent vaccinated, 60 percent for Light Rail Manila Corp., while Meralco is eyeing to achieve a 60 percent vaccination rate by end-August.

Meanwhile, 10 percent of Metro Pacific's toll road business have also been inoculated against COVID-19.


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