Meralco sale boosts Lopez holding firm's H1 income

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2010 05:36 PM | Updated as of Aug 17 2010 01:38 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Lopez Holdings Corp. recorded a net income of P11.376 billion for the first 6 months of 2010, 24 times the P475 million income it booked during the same period last year.

Lopez Holdings, formerly Benpres Holdings Corp., is the Lopez clan's holding firm for investments in broadcasting, cable television, and power generation and distribution.

It reported that its equity in net earnings of associates soared to P10.641 billion from only P474 million last year after the completion of the sale of a 6.7% stake in power retailer Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

Meanwhile, finance costs decreased by 23% to P564 million from P730 million due to a reduction in debt level following a significant buyback in August 2009.

Lopez Holdings' unaudited consolidated revenues rose 44% to P16.839 billion from P11.686 billion, reflecting the strong performance of subisidary ABS-CBN Corp., whose revenues and net income grew 44% and 179%, respectively.

Unit First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPHC), meanwhile, reported a net income of P24.91 billion, driven by the P23.6 billion earnings from the sale of Meralco shares.

Without one-time gains, FPHC's first-half net income would have been P1.3 billion, which is still signficantly higher than last year's restated net profit of P849 million.

"This tells us that investments made in earlier years by FPHC, and by ABS-CBN for that matter, are now giving us the expected returns. With their strategic directions clearly set at the operating company level, we know that both FPHC and ABS-CBN can sustain their solid performance for the rest of the year," said Lopez Holdings president Salvador Tirona.

As of December 31, 2009, Lopez Holdings held 57% of ABS-CBN, and 42% of FPHC.

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