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Wednesday, November 22, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES
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Date posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 | Manila, Philippines

the top 1000

Philippines Inc. hold their own despite challenging environment

This word best describes firms that made it to this year’s Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines. They bounced back from the devastation caused by a series of calamities in 2013 and held their ground despite the slowdown brought about by the government’s reluctance to spend more.

Despite weak state spending, the Philippines continued its above-trend expansion and remained the second fastest-growing economy in Asia next to China in 2014. This was reflected in this year’s league table, as the country’s biggest companies hiked their combined gross revenue by 9.3% to P9.27 trillion. Aggregate net income also grew by 13.6% to P1.14 trillion,, while gross profit margins were up a third straight year to 25.5%.

This edition marks the return of Petron Corp. to the coveted top spot since it deposed top grosser Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) in 2011.

The oil refining and distribution giant owned by food, power, and infrastructure conglomerate San Miguel Corp. ended 2014 with a gross revenue of P298.01 billion, up 5.7%, as Petron’s sales volumes got a boost from its acquisition of ExxonMobil’s operations in Malaysia. Petron’s bottom line, however, sank 37.6% to P2.71 billion as international fuel prices slipped to lows not seen since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

While Meralco’s gross revenue dropped 11.4% to P261.23 billion, it remained the most profitable company in the country. Its net income inched up by 1.5% to P17.76 billion on the strength of higher demand for power and a wider customer base.

Except for the top two companies trading places, the next two firms -- Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and chipmaker TI (Philippines), Inc. -- have held on to third and fourth places in the last four years.

Nestlé Philippines, Inc. stayed on the fifth spot for a second year, while Mercury Drug Corp. dislodged Toshiba Information Equipment (Philippines), Inc., which dropped out of the main listing because of the unavailability of its financial statements.

Joining the top 10 were Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. and Philippines Airlines, Inc. (PAL), both of which climbed several notches to 7th and 8th place, respectively. The Japanese automaker’s gross revenue surged by 32% to P104.40 billion, while PAL’s grew by 83% to P100.99 billion.

Completing the magic 10 were PMFTC, Inc., which slipped a notch to 9th, and San Miguel Foods, Inc.

The Top 1000 ranking is based on parent-only financial statements. A separate listing of the Top 100 is based on consolidated statements, which combines the financial results of the parent firm and its subsidiaries.

Manufacturers cornered the top rungs of the list. Among them were snack maker Universal Robina Corp., which exports its products to Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; and San Miguel Brewery, Inc., which recently introduced abroad its Cerveza Negra and San Mig Light brands.

Also among the top manufacturers were Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (19th), the country’s lone copper smelter owned by Anglo-Swiss commodities group Glencore plc., and Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, Inc. which ranked 22nd.

Besides manufacturing, financial firms were also amply represented in the top 50, including Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.; Bank of the Philippines Islands; and state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines.

Likewise, companies from the wholesale and retail sector made it to the top 50, such as Zuellig Pharma Corp.; PTT Philippines Corp.; Supervalue, Inc.; Robinson’s Supermarket Corp.; and Super Shopping Market, Inc.

Sy-led SM Prime Holdings, Inc. held the 51st place with gross revenue reaching P32.26 billion, while a related company, Sanford Marketing Corp., which operates SM Savemore stores, placed 52nd.

Oil retailer Total (Philippines) ranked 53rd, while the country’s largest geothermal producer, Energy Development Corp., followed with P29.46 billion in gross revenue. The operator of Resorts World Manila, Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., landed on the 55th spot as gross revenue slid by 5.9% to P29.21 billion.

The combined gross revenue of the top 200 contributed more than half of the total, eating up 66% or a P6.07 trillion share of the total.

With the start of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by year end, Philippine companies can expect tighter competition to accompany a wider playing field. The AEC will transform the region into one market and production hub where goods, services, investments and skilled labor move freely across borders.

The start of the AEC comes at a time when the region’s main trading partner, China, is cooling down, and global financial markets wretch in anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s lift-off.

So, will Philippines, Inc. stay resilient?

Despite the global uncertainties, the run-up to next year’s national polls is seen to to drive up fiscal spending, at least before the election ban kicks in. As in past episodes, consumer spending is also expected to prop up Philippine growth. With this, local corporates are likely to keep chugging along.

Send e-mail to Kia at kbobang@bworldonline.com or follow her on Twitter.com @kiaobang.

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