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BENGUET REPORTS EARNINGS FOR 1991

 BENGUET REPORTS EARNINGS FOR 1991
 MANDALUYONG, Metro Manila, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Dennis R.


Belmonte, president and chief executive officer of Benguet Corporation (NYSE: BE) reported today that the company's consolidated net earnings for the year amounted to P91,100,000 (US$3,419,000) or P0.80 (US$0.030) per share, 64 percent lower than the earnings of P251,700,000 (US$1,880,000) or P2.22 (US$0.079) per share in 1990. The Dizon Copper-Gold Operation and other income, mainly non- recurring gain from the sale of real property, provided the bulk of the Company's consolidated profits for 1991.
 In 1991, operating revenue decreased to P3,648,200,000 (US$136,892,000) from P3,993,400,000 (US$142,621,000) in 1990 as a result of the decline in 1991 of both production volume and metal prices. Average composite metal prices were US$ 358 per ounce for gold and US$1.02 per pound of copper in 1991, compared with average price of US$361 per ounce for gold and US$1.18 per pound for copper in 1990.
 Net earnings from the Dizon mine declined by 57 percent to P141,900,000 (US$5,300,000) in 1991, including provisions for insurance recovery from business interruption and property damage claims brought about by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, from P333,100,000 in 1990. Production for the year declined to 31,173,836 pounds of copper and 107,265 ounces of gold from 5,524,686 tonnes of ore containing 0.30 percent copper and .89 grams of gold per tonne, compared with 1990 production of 36,208,653 pounds of copper and 136,983 ounces of gold from 5,617,380 tonnes of ore containing 0.33 percent copper and 1.06 grams of gold per tonne.
 Net production cost per pound copper averaged US$1.77 (before gold/silver credits of US$1.23 and financing charges of US$0.15) in 1991, an increase of 18 percent compared to US$1.50 (before gold/silver credits of US$1.47 and financing charges of US$0.07) in 1990. Regular shipments resumed in December 1991 with the completion of the access road constructed in place of the old road.
 In the Benguet Gold Operations losses were reduced by 38 percent to P38,600,000 (US$1,447,000) in 1991 from P62,000,000 in 1990. Net production costs were reduced to US$379 per ounce this year, compared with US$426 per ounce in 1990. Gold production output was lower in 1991 at 73,848 ounces compared with 76,808 ounces in 1990 because of a decline in tonnage delivered to the mill. The underground mines contributed 425,166 tonnes of ore at 3.93 grams of gold per tonne in 1991, compared with 413,213 tonnes at 4.07 grams of gold per tonne in 1990. The open pit contributed 399,366 tonnes at 2.59 grams of gold per tonne in 1991, compared with 448,557 tonnes at 2.26 grams of gold per tonne in 1990. The average gold price in 1991 was US$360 per ounce, 7 percent lower than the gold price of US$387 per ounce.
 The Antamok Gold Project was formally declared in commercial operation on January 1, 1992, and has been renamed "Benguet Antamok Gold Operations" (BAGO). The operations generated net earnings of P33,000,000 (US$1,239,000) from 8,391 ounces of incidental gold produced during the debugging from November to December 1991.
 The Masinloc Chromite Operation incurred a net loss of P1,900,000 (US$72,000) in 1991, compared with net earnings of P12,800,000 in 1990, as refractory chromite ore shipments declined to 52,401 tonnes in 1991 from 88,077 tonnes in 1990.
 The contract to operate the Zambales Mineral (Chromite) Reservation Parcel No. 1, a major source of low-silica ore for blending, has been approved by the Office of the President. Development work on the property is expected to be completed by March 1992 for the first phase and January 1993 for the second phase, at an estimated cost of US$2,200,000.
 Loss in 1991 at the Paracale Gold Operation of P170,900,000 (US$6,414,000) was 237 percent higher than the loss of P50,700,000 in 1990 as P92,000,000 were booked as reserve for capital development costs of areas deemed uneconomical to mine at prevailing gold prices. In 1991, the average gold price was US$360 per ounce, compared to US$381 per ounce in 1990. Gold production in 1991 was 17,005 ounces from 195,760 tonnes of ore containing 3.50 grams of gold per tonne, compared to 21,793 ounces of gold from 203,602 tonnes of ore containing 4.04 grams of gold per tonne in 1990. Restructuring programs started in mid-1991.
 The Benguet-Oreline Contract Tails Buying Operation generated earnings of P8,900,000 (US$332,000) in 1991, 65 percent higher than the earnings of P5,400,000 in 1990. The average gold price improved for this operation to US$365 per ounce for 3,946 ounces produced and sold in 1991, compared with the average price of US$362 per ounce for 1,988 ounces in 1990.
 Metal trading transaction in 1991 earned P7,000,000 (US$262,000), compared with net loss of P46,900,000 in 1990 from maturing copper hedge contracts for 10,361,620 pounds of copper, net of hedging fees. All copper hedge contracts have matured by year-end and no new copper hedge contracts were opened during the year given the low levels of forward prices for copper. There were no gold hedging transactions in 1991.
 Benguet Management Corporation (BMC), a 100-percent-owned subsidiary, and its subsidiaries reported a consolidated net loss of P56,100,000 (US$2,105,000) in 1991, compared with consolidated net earnings of P3,900,000 in 1990. BMC's loss came principally from Philippine Cocoa Estates Corp. (PCEC), a 100-percent-owned BMC subsidiary, due to depressed cacao prices and provision for P22,800,000 (US$856,000) of capital development costs on its citrus farm damaged by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The mango farm of BMC, also located in Zambales, was not damaged and its presently operating normally.
 BenguetCorp International Ltd. (BIL), a 100-percent-owned subsidiary in Hong Kong engaged in international operations, and its subsidiaries reported consolidated earnings in 1991 or P3,000,000 (US$111,000), 80 percent lower than earnings of P29,400,000 in 1990.
 BenguetCorp Canada Ltd., BIL's subsidiary in Canada, inaugurated the first mine of the company constructed overseas for a joint venture company in Ecuador.
 Itogon-Suyoc Mines, Inc. (ISMI) a 54-percent-owned subsidiary, reported lower net earnings of P2,600,000 (US$87,000) in 1991, compared with net earnings of P14,500,000 in 1990 mainly due to the decline in gold prices. Gold production output for the year aggregated 16,629 ounces from 134,619 tonnes of ore grading 4.48 grams of gold per tonne, compared with 16,411 ounces from 134,550 tonnes of ore grading 4.89 grams of gold per tonne in 1990. Cost per ounce increased to US$359 in 1991 from US$337 in 1990.
 For this year, the affiliates reported the following: Engineering Equipment, Inc. (44-percent-owned), and subsidiaries reported consolidated net earnings of P65,900,000 (US$2,472,000), a 387-percent increase from net earnings of P13,500,000 in 1990. As of year-end, EEI has 3,383 men in Kuwait under the Company's manpower supply operations; Petrofields Exploration and Development Co., Inc. (42-percent-owned) earnings of P1,100,000 (US$42,000) from interest income, 79 percent lower than earnings of P5,300,000 in 1990; AsianBank Corp. (28-percent-owned) earnings of P100,100,000 (US$3,758,000), 7 percent higher than earnings of 93,300,000 in 1990; AB Capital & Investments Corp. (28-percent-owned) earnings of P69,000,000 (US$2,587,000), 18 percent higher than earnings of P58,200,000 in 1990; Monte de Piedad & Savings Bank (20-percent-owned) earnings of P40,900,000 (US$1,534,000), 347 percent higher than earnings of P9,100,000 in 1990.
 In July 1991, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled in favor of Benguet with finality, ending all legal controversies concerning Benguet's rights to operate the Kingking property of Nationwide Development Corp. in Pantukan, Davao. The Company has now taken over the exploration activities in the area.
 No cash dividends were declared by the company's board of directors for 1991 in view of the adverse effects of Mt. Pinatubo on the company's Dizon Copper-Gold Operation, the funds required for the construction and development of the Antamok Gold Project and in compliance with restrictions under existing loan agreements.
 Although it is quite difficult to predict which way metal prices will go, 1992 could have a few good things for the company. Production from the Antamok gold mine would provide the additional revenues that the company needs to improve its profitability. The Dizon mine would have completely recovered from the setback suffered due to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The restructuring of the Paracale Gold Operation and the shift to bulk mining method for the Benguet underground gold mine should reduce production costs and thereby improve overall operating productivity.
 BENGUET CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
 AUDITED CONSOLIDATED RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 In Thousands (Except Per Share Data)
 Three Months Ended
 December 31
 PHILIPPINE PESOS 1991 1990
 Operating Revenue P 863,200 P 1,081,600
 Operating Profit 186,400 307,800
 Other Income (Expenses)Net (328,600) (235,300)
 Net Income (Loss) Before
 Other Items (142,200) 72,500
 Other Items(A) 92,200 2,400
 Net Income (Loss)(B) (P 50,000) P 74,900
 Earnings Per Share (C)
 Net Income (Loss) Before
 Other Items (P 1.25) P 0.64
 Other Items 0.81 0.02
 Net Income (Loss) (P 0.44) P 0.66
 U.S. DOLLARS(D)
 Operating Revenue $ 32,389 $ 38,629
 Operating Profit 6,996 10,993
 Other Income (Expenses)Net (12,332) (8,404)
 Net Income (Loss) Before
 Other Items (5,336) 2,589
 Other Items(A) 3,451 86
 Net Income (Loss)(B) ($ 1,875) 2,675
 Earnings Per Share(C)
 Net Income (Loss) Before
 Other Items ($ 0.047) $ 0.023
 Other Items 0.030 0.001
 Net Income (Loss) ($ 0.017) $ 0.024
 Twelve Months Ended
 December 31
 PHILIPPINE PESOS 1991 1990
 Operating Revenue P 3,648,200 P 3,993,400
 Operating Profit 444,900 880,500
 Other Income (Expenses)Net (441,200) (781,400)
 Net Income Before
 Other Items 3,700 99,100
 Other Items(A) 87,400 152,600
 Net Income(B) P 91,100 P 251,700
 Earnings Per Share(C)
 Net Income Before
 Other Items P 0.03 P 0.87
 Other Items 0.77 1.35
 Net Income P 0.80 P 2.22
 U.S. DOLLARS(D)
 Operating Revenue $ 136,892 $ 142,621
 Operating Profit (Loss) 15,696 31,447
 Other Income (Expenses)Net (16,555) (27,907)
 Net Income Before
 Other Items 141 3,540
 Other Items(A) 3,278 5,450
 Net Income(B) $ 3,419 8,990
 Earnings Per Share(C)
 Net Income Before
 Other Items $ 0.001 $ 0.031
 Other Items 0.029 0.048
 Net Income $ 0.030 $ 0.079
 (A) Consists mainly of non-recurring gains from the sale of real estate property in 1991 and investments in shares of stock in 1990.
 (B) Deferred income tax is computed on a partial application basis, while unrealized foreign exchange losses in 1990 are deferred and amortized to coincide with the actual repayment of outstanding currency obligations. The effect of these methods is to decrease net loss by P3,800,000 (US$143,000) for the fourth quarter and to increase net income by P3,600,000 (US$137,000) for the year 1991 (to decrease net income by P5,200,000 (US$185,000) and P9,500,000 (US$338,000) for the same periods in 1990).
 (C) Earnings per share are based on the weighted average number of common shares outstanding.
 (D) Benguet is a Philippine corporation and its books of accounts are kept in Philippine pesos. U.S. dollar figures are shown purely for convenience and are computed based on the interbank guiding rate at December 31 of P26.65 to US$1.00 in 1991 (P28.00 to US$1.00 in 1990).
 -0- 3/9/92
 /CONTACT: Robert V. Schnabel, U.S. Counsel, Benguet Corporation, 202-638-2241/
 (BE) CO: Benguet Corporation ST: IN: MNG SU: ERN


MH -- DC004 -- 6251 03/09/92 09:30 EST
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