MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributor, is number one in the 2010 edition of BusinessWorld’s Top 1,000 Corporations in the Philippines, climbing two notches from a position it held in the last 7 years.
Meralco toppled Petron Corp. from first place and got past Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (formerly no. 2), even after reporting a 2.8% drop in gross revenues to P183.7 billion due to reduced generation and transmission charges last year.
Meralco’s rise to supremacy came amidst a tilt in the balance of power in favor of the Pangilinan group. The Lopezes formally exited the management of the country’s largest power retailer in July.
Petron, which wrestled the number one spot just last year from erstwhile consistent top player National Power Corp. (Napocor) -- shortly after the operations of the state-owned company’s transmission arm was privatized -- slipped to second after losing more than a third of its revenues to lower oil prices.
The former government-controlled oil firm reported a top line of P176.9 billion last year.
This year’s Top 1000 list shows similarly thinner top lines for most big firms, reflecting the dismal consumer appetite that stemmed from uncertainties over the global economy.
Overall gross revenues of firms included in the list went up by a modest 4.4% to P6.2 trillion last year from P5.9 trillion, their weakest performance since BusinessWorld started ranking high-grossing companies in 1988.
Manufacturing firms continued to dominate, composing more than a third of the Top 1000 list. Aggregate revenues of the 363 manufacturers that made the cut amounted to P2.7 trillion, up by a meager 0.7% year on year.
Notable in the 2010 edition of the Top 1000 was the strong showing of food manufacturers and makers of fast-moving consumer goods, with gains led by San Miguel Corp., which incidentally also has a huge stake in Meralco.
San Miguel climbed 30 rungs to place fifth after its revenues quadrupled to P116.1 billion.
National Grid Corp. of the Philippines debuted in 25th place.
Rounding out the Top 10 in terms of gross revenues are Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (3rd), TI (Philippines), Inc. (4th), Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (6th), Smart Communications, Inc. (7th), Nestlé Philippines, Inc. (8th), Mercury Drug Corp. (9th), and Philippine Airlines, Inc. (10th).