Lower electricity demand pulls down First Gen H1 profit to $183M
First Gen Corp. continued to make a profit despite the new coronavirus disease pandemic, but the bottom line fell 22 percent year-on-year to $183 million in the first half of 2020 from $233 million previously.
In the second quarter alone, net income of the Lopez group’s power generation firm dropped 26 percent to $86.2 million from $116.1 million.
“The full brunt of the second-quarter lockdown saw demand for electricity drop significantly with the abrupt economic slowdown [and] First Gen was not spared,” First Gen president and chief operating officer Francis Giles B. Puno said in a statement.
In terms of recurring earnings, First Gen chalked up $133 million, which was 15 percent less than the previous $156 million.
The group’s natural gas-fired power plants chipped in $88 million or 15 percent less than the $105 million contributed last year.
Recurring earnings from renewables—through Energy Development Corp.’s (EDC) geothermal, solar and wind portfolio—were also lower at $48 million from $49 million. This was partly due to lower electricity sales from geothermal, which was offset by lower operating and interest expenses.
First Gen’s hydro business fared worse, with its contribution shrinking to $4 million from $13 million. This was attributed mainly to lower prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.
Consolidated electricity revenue waned by 15 percent to $939 million from $1.1 billion, with natural gas assets accounting for three fifths.
The gas plants’ combined revenue slid down by 17 percent mainly due to lower average natural gas prices—which are indexed to crude oil prices—along with a decline in the generators’ dispatch.
EDC accounted for 36 percent of consolidated revenue, which lower spot prices pushed down by 8 percent to $374 million.
First Gen Hydro Power contributed 47 percent less at $17 million from $33 million. —RONNEL W. DOMINGO
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