COMBINED net earnings of listed firms during the first quarter of 2010 grew by 113.9 percent to P137.08 billion in the first quarter, from P64.08 billion in the same quarter of 2009, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) said in a study.

The growth in net earnings resulted from the improved performances of all sectors, in spite of the declines posted by hotel and leisure, oil and the telecommunications sub-sectors.

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“The first quarter results exhibited the strong recovery of our listed companies under a more favorable economic environment.

On top of gains recorded from asset sales, companies also benefitted from increased demand and gains from foreign exchange operations and investments held during the first quarter,” PSE Chief Operating Officer Val Antonio B. Suarez said.

Positive

Consolidated revenues grew 28.8 percent as they reached P771.71 billion during the first quarter, from P599.28 billion in the same period last year.

Companies that make up the PSE index likewise reported a 104.4 percent increase in their net earnings during the first quarter to P92.78 billion, with revenues also spiking by 27.66 percent to P472.36 billion.

A total of 162 domestic companies recorded positive income figures in the first quarter of 2010. Only 60 companies posted net losses.

In terms of sub-sectors, the combined net earnings of companies in the industrial sector surged 294.3 percent to P60.59 billion, led by First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPH) after the sale of its shares in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) worth P23.6 billion.

Holding firms up

Power generation assets acquired in 2009 generated a P7.5 billion income contribution to Aboitiz Power Corp. San Miguel Brewery, Inc.’s (SMB) earnings were buoyed by the purchase of San Miguel Brewing International Limited in January, which pitched in P2.99 billion to SMB’s earnings.

The income contribution from listed companies’ affiliates propped up the holding firms’ net income by 187.9 percent in the first quarter to P33.6 billion.

On the other hand, higher cost of sales and foreign exchange losses dragged earnings for the oil subsector by 41.4 percent.

The service sector’s net income for the period was also relatively flat at 1.5 percent.

Interest income

The expansion in Banco de Oro Unibank Inc.’s loan portfolio resulted in a 19 percent jump in its net interest income, which further boosted the financial sector’s earnings by 33.6 percent to P14.27 billion.

Also contributing to the subsector’s expansion is Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., which saw its operating income grow due to higher income from trading and foreign exchange transactions, among others.

The combined net earnings of the property subsector rose 18.4 percent to P8.02 billion, largely due to profits from projects completed in the first quarter.

Also during the period, SM Development Corp. booked a gain of P6.2 million from the sale of investments held for trading and available-for-sale investments.

The PSE operates the only stock exchange in the Philippines with 250 listed companies and 132 operating trading participants. (PR)