AEV expects to surpass prepandemic performance this year
Conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) is “cautiously optimistic” it could deliver earnings this year that will exceed prepandemic levels, implying a return to at least P22 billion in net profit, given the group’s encouraging performance at end-September.
The group, particularly flagship Aboitiz Power, also expects to come up within the next six months an “achievable” road map to “net zero” emissions as the world strives to limit global warming from preindustrial levels to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
AEV earlier reported a 135-percent surge in nine-month net profit to P19.5 billion, surpassing the P18.45-billion Bloomberg consensus forecast for the full year.
Moreover, this already accounted for 88.6 percent of its 2019 earnings. Last year, disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic dragged down its full-year profit to P15.43 billion.
“We don’t normally give out forecasts, but … with P19.5 billion [nine-month profit], I think we’re cautiously optimistic that we should be able to beat [our prepandemic performance],” AEV chief financial officer Manuel Lozano said in a press briefing last week.
“Our Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) has been growing quarterly. I think that bodes well for us to be able to achieve this,” he added.
For 2022, Lozano said taking a “cautiously optimistic” view would still be the right stance.
The higher COVID-19 vaccination rates and improving mobility in the country support some optimism, but he also took note of lingering business challenges, including higher input costs, logistics issues and inflation pressures. Threats of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases could also dampen the pace of recovery, he said.
Aboitiz Power president and CEO Manuel Rubio, for his part, said the performance of the generation unit provided a strong momentum for its 10-year plan to grow its renewable energy capacity.
He said the firm was aiming to hit a 50-50 balance between renewables and thermal by 2030.
Still, the Philippines must heed lessons from Europe, which transitioned far too quickly to renewables, he said. A number of thermal plants are again sprouting there, according to Rubio.
—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla INQ
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