First Gen’s natural gas business sizzles

By Lenie Lectura – November 16, 2018
from Business Mirror

LOPEZ-LED First Gen Corp. on Thursday posted a 45-percent increase in recurring net income attributable to equity holders of the parent at $180 million (or P9.4 billion) from January to September this year compared to $124 million (P6.2 billion) in the same period last year.

The company owed its strong performance to its natural gas business, which delivered recurring earnings of $140 million at end-September this year (P7.3 billion) versus $87 million (P4.4 billion) previously.

The company owns the 1,000-MW Sta. Rita, 500-MW San Lorenzo, 420-MW San Gabriel and 97-MW Avion gas plants in Batangas.

First Gen’s attributable net income of $151 million (P7.9 billion) in the first three quarters of the year was 50 percent higher from 2017.

The San Gabriel plant, its newest and most modern plant, benefited from markedly higher dispatch and revenues as it sold power in the spot market at attractive prices in the first half of 2018, as well as from its full production to Manila Electric Co. under its power supply agreement in the third quarter. First Gen’s consolidated revenues from the sale of electricity increased by 14 percent to $1.5 billion (P76.2 billion) at end-September this year compared to $1.3 billion (P64 billion) .

The natural gas portfolio accounted for $919 million (P47.9 billion), or 63 percent of First Gen’s total consolidated revenues. Their revenues were 18 percent higher in the first three quarters of 2018 mainly due to higher volume sales and prices.

“We are pleased to report that First Gen’s sizable investment in new capacity with the modern San Gabriel plant started serving the power needs of Meralco’s customers in the third quarter of 2018.

“We are happy to report that San Gabriel delivers a low-cost source of electricity to Filipino consumers. Contrary to perception, First Gen is clearly proving the price competitiveness of clean low-carbon natural gas-fired power versus more polluting coal-fired power even at full baseload dispatch,” First Gen President Francis Giles B. Puno said.

Energy Development Corp.’s (EDC) geothermal, wind and solar revenues accounted for $476 million (P24.8 billion), or 33 percent of total consolidated revenues.

Recurring attributable earnings from EDC, excluding FG Hydro, was lower at $55 million (P2.9 billion) in 2018, versus 2017’s $68 million (P3.4 billion), mainly because of First Gen’s reduced economic stake in EDC after the tender offer in September last year and the foreign-exchange translation of EDC’s peso books into US dollars, which is First Gen’s functional currency.

FG Hydro, owner of the 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric plants, reported flat revenues at $29 million (P1.5 billion). The hydro plants account for only 2 percent of First Gen’s total consolidated revenues. First Gen has 3,490 MW of installed capacity in its portfolio, which accounts for 21 percent of the country’s gross generation capacity.