Philippines' Ayala group 1H net profit down 35 pct

Philippines conglomerate Ayala Corp. said Friday its half year net profit fell 35 percent to 4.07 billion pesos (84.93 million dollars) as its flagship property unit suffered a hefty earnings drop.

However, excluding gains from asset sales at the same point last year, first-half net profit rose 14 percent, it added.

"We are encouraged by the earnings trend across our key business units despite the marked slowdown in the economy," its president and chief operating officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala said.

"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 stabilise in the near term and expect growth to accelerate next year," he added.

Revenue at Ayala — which has interests that include banking, property development, telecommunications and water utilities — fell 3.66 percent to 28.84 billion pesos, it said in a statement.

Ayala Land suffered a 35 percent earnings fall in the first six months, the statement said.

But the conglomerate said demand for housing in the Philippines from Filipinos based abroad, a key driver of the local market, had recovered with second-quarter sales up 36 percent from the previous three months.

Among its other key units, Globe Telecom net profit rose 17 percent to 7.2 billion pesos while Bank of the Philippine Islands net profit grew 38 percent to 5.3 billion pesos.

Ayala’s AC Capital subsidiary swung into a 77 million-peso net profit from a 39 million-peso loss in the first half of last year, while Manila Water net income grew 16 percent to 1.46 billion pesos.