Philex regains profitability with P1.23 billion income last year

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TUBA, Benguet – Philex Mining Corporation, one of the country’s largest gold and copper producer, posted P1.23 billion in net income attributable to parent company equity holders last year on the back of higher revenues and lower expenses that allowed the same to regain profitability amidst the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a regulatory filing recently, the Pangilinan-led mining firm reported a turnaround from its P647.78 million attributable net loss in the previous year.

The company also reported a core net income of P1.16 billion, more than seven times higher than the year’s.

Its revenues for 2020 improved 15.3 percent to P7.83 billion against P6.79 billion in 2019. Cost and expenses dropped nearly 9 percent to P6.3 billion from P6.92 billion previously because of cost management and efficient operations.

According to Philex, fourth quarter tonnage fell to 1.88 million tons, lower by 5.5 percent than 1.99 million tons in the previous quarter as a result of the three-day temporary stoppage of underground operations after a number of its personnel tested positive for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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“The shutdown was necessary to undertake COVID-19 mass testing of miners and contain the local transmission of the virus,” it said.

“Despite the COVID-19 related temporary shutdown, the company produced a total of 56,000 ounces of gold and 26.38 million pounds of copper in 2020, higher than full year 2019 production of 53,064 ounces of gold and 25.74 million pounds of copper,” it added.

The company said it would focus on optimizing its Pacdal mine in Benguet and would work to sign up a strategic business partner for its Silangan copper and gold project in Surigao del Norte.

Eulalio B. Austin Jr., Philex president and chief executive officer, said the positive trend in prices and long-term outlook for gold and copper have boosted the interest of global investors in the company’s Silangan project despite the pandemic.

“We are closely working with our financial advisor to bring Silangan into operation in the soonest possible time and at the same time optimizing the Padcal Mine,” Mr. Austin said.

Austin pointed out that what contributed to the company regaining its profitability was the good production at the height of the pandemic, the high metal prices in the world market and the effective and efficient COVID-19 response that paved the way for its sustainable operation even beyond its projected mine life.

Meanwhile, Philex Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said businesses that best adapt to change would survive the effects of the health crisis.

“Thankfully enough, Philex as an export-oriented company was permitted to operate by government despite the community quarantine, providing revenues to allow us to concentrate on… the health and financial well-being of our employees; maintaining service excellence to our customers; and assistance to the government in caring for those most affected,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

“Mining shall and always will be a key economic driver towards inclusive national growth. Mining has the potential to provide much-needed revenue for the government’s response against the pandemic, particularly in the purchase of vaccines, if it is allowed to flourish,” he said.

Philex Mining is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and PLDT Inc. By HENT

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