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 MANDALUYONG, Metro Manila, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Benguet Corporation (NYSE: BE) reported that the consolidated results of operations for the second quarter this year amounted to earnings of P429,900,000 (US$15,764,000), or P3.77 (US$0.138) per share, primarily from the extraordinary or non-recurring gains of P640,900,000 (US$23,500,000) from the sale of the company's stockholdings in EEI Corporation and real estate properties, partly offset by financial charges of P209,400,000 (US$7,680,000) for the period. Compared to the same quarter last year, net earnings amounted to P17,000,000 (US$664,000), or P0.15 (US$0.006) per share. For the six-month period this year, the company's net earnings were P323,000,000 (US$11,842,000), or P2.83 (US$0.104) per share, 608 percent higher than the earnings for the same period in 1992.
 Operating revenues for the second quarter amounted to P783,400,000 (US$28,726,000), 24 percent lower than the revenues of P1,031,900,000 for the same period in 1992. For the first half of this year, revenues decreased by 22 percent to P1,529,100,000 (US$56,069,000) from P1,953,900,000 for the first half of 1992.
 The Dizon mine (Dizon Copper-Gold Operation (DCO)) for the second quarter this year resulted in a loss of P3,400,000 (US$124,000), compared with the earnings of P34,500,000 in 1992, mainly on account of a decline in copper price, compounded by charges to operations for the retrenchment of 576 men to streamline operations and reduce operating costs. The loss this quarter, however, may still be recouped from the company's copper price insurance coverage should the actual average price of copper for the year fall below US$0.97 per pound copper. For the six-month period, the DCO was about break-even with earnings of P600,000 (US$22,000), compared with the earnings of P45,800,000 for the first half of 1992. Production for the second quarter consisted of 7,730,000 pounds of copper and 22.134 ounces of gold valued at US$0.85 per pound and US$384 per ounce, respectively. In 1992, 6,718,000 pounds of copper and 32,666 ounces of gold valued at US$1.12 per pound and US$348 per ounce, respectively, were produced in the same period. Net production cost per pound copper decreased to US$1.59 this quarter from US$2.35 last year (before gold and silver credits of US$1.12 and financial charges of US$0.09 in 1993 from US$1.75 and US$0.08 in 1992 respectively).
 The Benguet Antamok Gold Operation (BAGO) open pit mines incurred a loss of P27,400,000 (US$1,006,000) this quarter and P75,200,000 (US$2,757,000) for the first half of 1993, primarily due to lower gold production and higher financial charges. In 1992, the mine generated earnings of P4,700,000 for the quarter and P11,600,000 for the first half of the year. Gold prices averaged US$367 per ounce for the second quarter, compared with US$343 per ounce in 1992. Gold production aggregated 20,534 ounces this quarter, bringing year-to-date production output to 41,189 ounces. For the same periods in 1993, gold production aggregated 22,755 ounces for the quarter and 45,973 ounces for the first half. Net production cost per ounce for the quarter averaged US$318 inclusive of non-cash charges of US$80 but before financial charges of US$93. The decline in value of the peso against the US dollar in the second quarter resulted in a foreign exchange loss of US$22 per ounce, partly offsetting the advantage of the lower interest rate of the mine's dollar-denominated loans.
 The Masinloc Chromite Operation (MCO) incurred a loss during the second quarter of P2,600,000 (US$97,000), compared with the loss of P1,600,000 in 1992, which is mainly on account of a decline in shipments as well as charges for retrenchment costs to reduce manpower. For the first half of the year, net loss increased to P7,600,000 (US$279,000) from P6,900,000 in 1992.
 Shipments of refractory ore for the quarter and for the six months this year aggregated 11,080 tonnes and 29,628 tonnes, respectively, compared with 19,128 tonnes and 34,108 tonnes for the same periods in 1992. The development of the Zambales Mineral Chromite Reservation Parcel No. 1 has been completed which was formally declared in commercial operation starting July 1993.
 The Benguet and Paracale underground mines remained suspended during the second quarter. Both mines are currently in the market for potential investors either on outright sale or joint venture arrangement.
 The company's outstanding value-added tax claims remain pending before the tax court and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. As of the end of the quarter, the company's claims consisted of about P272 million for gold sold to the Philippine Central Bank which claims are under judicial review, and P269 million related to direct exports which are subject only to administrative review by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. To date, only P25.3 million has been granted to the company as tax credit for direct export shipments covering the first two quarters of 1991.
 Benguet Management Corporation (BMC), a 100 percent-owned subsidiary, and its subsidiaries reported a consolidated loss of P20,500,000 (US$752,000) for the second quarter this year, principally from the loss of a subsidiary in the disposition of its assets, compared with a consolidated loss of P4,700,000 in 1992. For the six-month period, BMC reported a loss of P15,800,000 (US$579,000), compared with a loss of P13,300,000 for the same period in 1992.
 The company ended its long history of association with its one-time 90.6 percent-owned subsidiary, EEI Corporation (EEI), with the sale of all of the company's 33.5 percent holdings in EEI at a gain of P539,400,000 (US$19,778,000). The sale was part of the company's program to reduce debt burden, the proceeds of which will be used to liquidate part of the company's loan obligations with creditor banks.
 Petrofields Exploration & Development Co., Inc. (Petrofields), a 21 percent-owned affiliate company, reported a loss of P700,000 (US$27,000) this quarter, compared with the earnings of P2,500,000 a year ago. For the first half of the year, Petrofields reported net earnings of P1,500,000 (US$55,000), 39 percent lower than the earnings of P2,400,000 in 1992.
 AsianBank Corporation (ABC) and AB Capital & Investment Corporation (ABCIC), both 28 percent owned by the company, reported net earnings this quarter of P22,800,000 (US$837,000) and P32,800,000 (US$1,202,000), respectively, compared with earnings of P26,200,000 and P36,900,000 for the same quarter in 1992. For the first half of the year, earnings reported by ABC and ABCIC amounted to P46,400,000 (US$1,703,000) and P68,70\,000 (US$2,519,000), respectively, compared with the earnings of P47,400,000 and P64,700,000 in 1992.
 Monte de Piedad & Savings Bank, a 20 percent-owned affiliate company, reported earnings of P13,400,000 (US$491,000) this quarter and P24,600,000 (US$901,000) for the first half, compared with the earnings of P10,800,000 and P16,800,000 for the same periods in 1992.
 On the KingKing Copper-Gold Project, the company is awaiting the results of the metallurgical tests being conducted by K&D Engineering of Tucson, Ariz. Parallel tests are also being conducted at the minesite to determine the characteristics of the oxide ore from the KingKing claims. A number of proposals have been received by the company from interested parties that have signified serious interest in the project.
 With respect to the company's Debt Restructuring Program, an agreement in principle on most of the significant issues has already been arrived at between the company and the banks' steering committee. Upon formal approval of the program by a majority of the creditor banks involved, the debt restructuring will be implemented. The company's financial advisor, Bankers Trust Company, is confident that everything can be put in place before the end of the third quarter this year.
 The prospects for the balance of the year have become quite favorable with the recent upswing in gold prices to the US$400 per ounce level. The company is optimistic that its debt restructuring negotiations with creditor banks can be fully resolved in the third quarter and other real estate properties can be sold before year-end. Additional profits from the sale of these properties are expected, the proceeds from which will pay off some more of the company's debt and further reduce interest cost. This would enhance the company's profitability and could enable operations to report net earnings even after financial charges.
 In cognizance of the present plight of the mining industry, the Philippine government has created a task force comprised of the various departments of the government to address the problems of the industry and propose the necessary administrative measures or bills necessary to set the direction for the industry's resuscitation and growth. The company, together with the others in the industry, looks forward to concrete steps by the government to help the industry in its current situation.
 Unaudited Consolidated Results of Operations
 In Thousands (Except Per Share Data)
 Three Months Ended
 June 30,
 Operating Revenue P 783,400 P1,031,900
 Operating Profit 92,700 44,600
 Other Income
 (Expenses)Net 337,200 ( 27,600)
 Net Income (A) P 429,900 P 17,000
 Per Share (B) P 3.77 P 0.15
 Operating Revenue $ 28,726 $ 40,336
 Operating Profit 3,400 1,745
 Other Income
 (Expenses)- Net 12,364 ( 1,081)
 Net Income (A) $ 15,764 664
 Per Share (B) $ 0.138 $ 0.006
 Six Months Ended
 June 30,
 Operating Revenue P 1,529,100 P1,953,900
 Operating Profit 92,000 93,200
 Other Income
 (Expenses)Net 231,000 ( 47,600)
 Net Income (A) P 323,000 P 45,600
 Per Share (B) P 2.83 P 0.40
 Operating Revenue $ 56,069 $ 76,374
 Operating Profit 3,372 3,643
 Other Income
 (Expenses)- Net 8,470 1,860
 Net Income (A) $ 11,842 $ 1,783
 Per Share (B) $ 0.104 $ 0.016
 (A) Deferred income tax is computed on a partial application basis,
 while unrealized foreign exchange losses are deferred and
 amortized to coincide with the actual repayment of outstanding
 currency obligations. The effect of these methods is to
 increase the net income by P48,600,000 (US$1,782,000) for the
 second quarter and by P59,400,000 (US$2,177,000) for the first
 six months in 1993 (nil for the same periods in 1992).
 (B) Earnings per share are based on the weighted average number of
 common shares outstanding.
 (C) 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 were computed based on the interbank
 guiding rate at June 30 of P27.27 to US$1.00 in 1993 (P25.58 to
 US$1.00 in 1992).
 -0- 8/17/93
 /CONTACT: Robert V. Schnabel, U.S. counsel, Benguet Corporation, 202-638-2241/ \\\\\\E)

CO: Benguet Corporation ST: IN: MNG SU: ERN

TW -- DC006 -- 3464 08/17/93 10:32 EDT
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Date:Aug 17, 1993

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