Ayala Corporation’s net income in the first half of the year reached P4 billion, 35% lower than the same period last year. However, excluding gains from asset sales last year, net income rose by 14%. Equity earnings from key business units posted healthy growth with equity earnings from Globe Telecom and Bank of the Philippine Islands up by 7% and 27%, respectively, cushioning the 35% fall in equity earnings from Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI). Companies under its AC Capital division also contributed positively as it reversed last year’s loss following a significant improvement in its electronics manufacturing services unit, Integrated Microelectronics, Inc. (IMI), as well as higher earnings from Manila Water.
Ayala Corporation president and COO, Mr. Fernando Zobel de Ayala said, “We are encouraged by the earnings trend across our key business units despite the marked slowdown in the economy. While conditions will remain challenging, we are much more optimistic given the resilience displayed by each of our businesses during this challenging period. We will continue to see earnings stabilize in the near term and expect growth to accelerate next year.”
While ALI’s core net income in the first half dropped by 16% to P1.87 billion, core earnings in the second quarter rose by 6% to P964 million, indicative of a more positive trend. This was underpinned by a resurgent property market with buyer confidence returning particularly in the high-end residential segment. Residential Development revenues grew by 19% to P3.71 billion in the second quarter. Ayala Land Premiere, the company’s high-end brand, saw a strong recovery while the middle and affordable brands, Alveo and Avida, performed steadily. Demand from the overseas Filipino market recovered with sales up 36% versus the previous quarter. ALI’s revenues from its Shopping Centers rose by 5% to P2.21 billion in the first semester this year driven by the strong performance of Market! Market! as well as the net expansion in gross leasable area from new malls Greenbelt 5 and Glorietta 5. Revenues from Corporate Business likewise increased by 84% to P788 million with increased contribution from the new BPO buildings that became operational in the second half of last year and early this year.
Bank of the Philippine Islands likewise delivered profitable growth with net income in the first semester reaching P5.3 billion, up 38% over the previous year. Revenues rose by 19% with positive contribution from both net interest and non-interest income. Net interest income increased by 18% boosted by the 7% growth in the bank’s average asset base and a 31 basis point improvement in net interest margin. Non-interest income increased by 21% mainly from trading gains. The bank’s loan portfolio grew by 5% on double-digit expansion of consumer loans but with softer demand from the corporate segment. The bank’s asset quality continues to improve as its non-performing loan ratio continued to fall to 2.8%.
Globe Telecom posted a 17% growth in net earnings to P7.2 billion, with core net earnings up 3% over the same period last year. Service revenues increased by 2% on the back of stable wireless revenues and accelerating growth of the wireline and broadband segments which increased by 16% year-on-year. Globe ended the first semester with 25 million wireless subscribers. The company’s broadband business continued to attain new highs, setting a new record in net subscriber additions. The company ended the first half with about 379,000 broadband subscribers, more than double year-ago levels with revenues up 59% year-on-year. The company recently declared its second semi-annual cash dividend of P32 per share in line with the company’s policy of distributing 75% of prior year’s net income. A total of P4.2 billion in dividends will be paid on September 15, 2009, bringing total dividends paid out this year by the telecom company to P8.4 billion.
Business units under AC Capital contributed P77 million in equity earnings in the first half of the year from a loss of P39 million in the same period last year. This reversal was driven by a significant improvement in the performance of Manila Water and IMI.
Manila Water posted a 16% growth in net income to P1.46 billion. Revenues grew by 6% despite pressure on billed volume growth as commercial and industrial customers offset the growth in volume from residential and semi-commercial customers. The impact of higher tariff rate and lower corporate income tax as well as higher interest income boosted earnings during the period. Manila Water recently acquired Laguna AAA Water Corporation, a 25-year concession to provide water to Sta. Rosa, Binan, and Cabuyao. This is expected to expand Manila Water’s coverage and contribute to Manila Water’s growth and expansion moving forward.
IMI recorded a significant improvement in its bottomline in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year in the absence of foreign exchange losses which weighed on earnings in 2008. Revenues in the first half of this year however was lower by 26% in US dollar terms, impacted by the general slowdown in global demand for electronics. While positive sales performance was noted in March and April, lower sales in the first two months of the year continued to impede revenue growth. IMI’s China and Singapore business showed greater resiliency with dollar revenues from this region up 11% year-on-year. IMI’s cash generation remained strong at around US$8 million, ending the period with a consolidated cash balance of US$66 million.
Ayala’s BPO investee companies grew their combined revenues by 8%, from US$82 million in Q109 to US$89 million in Q209, largely due to Integreon. Ayala’s share of the BPO companies’ combined reported loss decreased by 53% from P306 million in the first quarter of 2009 to P143 million in the second quarter, primarily due to improvements in the performance of Affinity Express and Integreon. Ayala’s share of the BPO companies’ combined net loss in the first half of the year was P449 million, which included P156 million in interest expense and P72 million in non-cash amortization of intangibles related to the acquisition of eTelecare, and P44 million in one off transaction costs related to Integreon’s acquisition of Onsite.
Ayala’s BPO investee companies are continuing to build scale, through both organic and inorganic initiatives. To date, Ayala has invested approximately US$200 million in the BPO sector, which it expects to experience stronger growth going forward, as the global economy recovers and outsourcing becomes increasingly important to companies’ cost reduction initiatives.
Ayala’s balance sheet remains strong. The company ended the semester with parent net debt of P9 billion and net debt to equity ratio of 0.09 to 1.