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BENGUET REPORTS SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS

 BENGUET REPORTS SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS
 MANDALUYONG, Metro Manila, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Dennis R.


Belmonte, president and chief executive officer of Benguet Corporation (NYSE: BE), reported today that Benguet's revenues from mining operations for the second quarter of 1992 were severely depressed by the strengthening of the Philippine peso as against the U.S. dollar and by the continued decline of gold prices. Despite these factors, Benguet managed to generate earnings for the quarter.
 Consolidated net earnings for the quarter were P17,000,000 (US$664,000), or P0.15 (US$0.006) per share, 15 percent lower than the earnings of P20,100,000 (US$724,000), or P0.18 (US$0.006) per share, in the same quarter of 1991. Earnings from affiliates, the Dizon Mine, and the Benguet Antamok Gold Operation provided the bulk of the earnings. Earnings for the six-month period amounted to P45,600,000 (US$1,783,000), or P0.40 (US$0.016) per share. Sixty-one percent lower than the earnings of P115,900,000 (US$4,177,000), or P1.02 (US$0.037) per share a year ago.
 Earnings from the Dizon mine for the quarter decreased to P34,500,000 (US$1,348,000), compared with the earnings of P60,600,000 for the same quarter last year. For the six-month period, earnings of P45,800,000 (US$1,789,000) were also lower compared with earnings of P141,500,000 last year. Net production cost per pound copper for the quarter increased by 34 percent to US$2.35 this year from US$1.76 last year.
 Earnings from the Benguet Antamok open pit for the quarter amounted to P4,700,000 (US$185,000) despite weak gold prices which averaged US$343 per ounce. For the six-month period earnings amounted to P11,600,000 (US$454,000).
 In the Benguet Gold Operations, losses this quarter amounted to P14,900,000 (US$581,000), 687 percent higher than the loss of P1,900,000 in 1991. For the six-month period, losses amounted to P32,100,000 (US$1,255,000), 53 percent higher than the loss of P21,000,000 last year. In view of the poor metal prices, management of the Benguet Gold Operations decided to temporarily suspend operation of the BACO-Kelly mines effective July 1, 1992. For this years second-half period, the Benguet Gold Operations' activities will be limited to the operation and development of low grade, high- volume, wide-vein and stockwork ore deposits through underground bulk mining methods.
 The Masinloc Chromite Operation incurred a loss of P1,600,000 (US$64,000) this quarter, compared with earnings of P400,000 for the same period last year. For the six-month period, losses amounted to P6,900,000 (US$270,000), compared with earnings of P2,900,000 in 1991. A labor strike at the mines which crippled operations for 34 days reduced both production and shipment tonnages, resulting in higher average cost of chromite shipped this quarter to US$120 per tonne from US$96 per tonne in 1991.
 Losses from the Paracale mine were reduced to P17,800,000 (US$696,000), 35 percent lower than the losses of P27,300,000 for the same quarter in 1991. For the six-month period, losses amounted to P41,600,000 (US$1,626,000), almost the same as the losses of P41,000,000 in 1991. The management of the Paracale mines decided to temporarily suspend underground operation effective May 16, 1992, in view of the unfavorable metal prices and foreign exchange rate. The underground mine will be reopened when operation becomes economically viable again.
 The Benguet-Oreline Contract Tails Buying Operation earned P125,000 (US$4,800) in the first quarter of 1992, 95 percent lower than the earnings of P2,700,000 for the same period last year. There were 872 ounces of gold sold at US$341 per ounce this quarter, compared with 1,062 ounces of gold sold at US$360 per ounce in 1991. For the six-month period, earnings amounted to P683,000 (US$27,000), 89 percent lower than the earnings of P6,500,000 for the same period in 1991.
 There was no metal trading activity during the second quarter and for the first half of this year, which for the same respective periods in 1991 earned P500,000 and P1,100,000, mainly from sales deferrals of the company's gold production. The company now directly exports all of its gold production on spot basis to a refinery abroad, having been allowed by the Philippine Central Bank to do so since February 1992.
 Benguet Management Corporation, a 100-percent-owned subsidiary and its subsidiaries reported a consolidated loss of P4,700,000 (US$183,000) for the second quarter, 80 percent lower than the loss of P23,600,000 in 1991, due mainly to the losses incurred by Philippine Cocoa Estates Corporation.
 BenguetCorp International Ltd., (BIL), a 100-percent-owned subsidiary in Hong Kong, and its subsidiaries reported a consolidated loss of P3,600,000 (US$141,000) compared with net earnings of P1,400,000 in 1991. BIL's losses include expenses of BenguetCorp Canada Ltd. (BCL), a 100-percent-owned subsidiary of BIL, in connection with BCL's management of a silver mine in Ecuador. BCL is confident that it will be able to recover these expenses for which it is currently finalizing negotiations.
 Itogon-Suyoc Mines, Inc, a 54-percent-owned subsidiary, reported earnings of P100,000 (US$4,000) for the quarter, an improvement over the losses of P700,000 reported for the same quarter in 1991. Monthly production output for the quarter averaged 1,559 ounces priced at US$340 per ounce, compared with 1,377 ounces at US$361 per ounce in 1991. For the six-month period, loss amounted to P700,000 (US$26,000), compared with earnings of P4,000,000 for the same period in 1991.
 For the quarter, the affiliates reported the following: Petrofields Exploration & Development Co., Inc. (42-percent-owned) reported earnings of P2,500,000 (US$98,000) this quarter and P2,400,000 (US$96,000) for the first half, mainly from its 4 percent participating interest in the operation of the West Linapacan oil fields in Northwest Palawan which commenced commercial lifting in June 1992. For the same periods in 1991, Petrofields reported earnings of P300,000 and P1,200,000; Engineering Equipment, Inc. (34-percent-owned), posted earnings of P47,000,000 (US$1,838,000) this quarter, 433 percent higher than the earnings of P8,800,000 for the same quarter last year, mainly from its manpower supply operation in Kuwait. For the first half of this year, earnings amounted to P80,800,000 (US$3,157,000), 679 percent higher than the earnings of P10,400,000 in 1991; AsianBank Corporation (ABC) and AB Capital & Investment Corporation (ABCIC) (both 28-percent-owned) reported earnings of P26,200,000 (US$1,026,000) and P36,900,000 (US$1,443,000), respectively, compared with earnings of P20,500,000 and P15,800,000 for the same quarter in 1991. For the first half, earnings reported by ABC and ABCIC amounted to P47,400,000 (US$1,853,000) and P64,700,000 (US$2,527,000), respectively, compared with earnings of P42,900,000 and P37,100,000 for the same period in 1991; Monte de Piedad and Savings Bank (20-percent-owned) had earnings of P10,800,000 (US$421,000) for this quarter and P16,800,000 (US$656,000) for the first half, compared with earnings of P4,300,000 and P2,600,000 for the same respective periods in 1991.
 On May 15, 1992, the president of the Philippines approved the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) over the KingKing claims in Pantukan, Davao del Norte entered into with the Philippine Government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, by Nationwide Development Corporation as leaseholder, and Benguet as operator. To date, 92 percent of the programmed confirmatory drill holes have been completed.
 To date, Benguet has accumulated claims for Value-Added Tax (VAT) credits with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the amount of P457 million. Out of the total claims, P158 million is at present administratively being processed for refund by the BIR. The remaining P299 million claim is disputed by the BIR although several months ago, the Department of Justice issued an opinion that the sale of gold to the Philippine Central Bank was zero-rated under the value-added tax law. The president of the Philippines recently issued a decision referring claims such as Benguet's to the Court of Tax Appeals for adjudication. Benguet will pursue its claim for tax refund in the court.
 Management's attention will continue to be focused on reducing the company's debt burden. At this time, peso borrowings are being converted to cheaper dollar-denominated loans. A review and re- evaluation of the Company's real estate properties and other non- performing assets are similarly ongoing. With the peaceful outcome of the May 1992 elections and the proclamation of a new president of the Philippines which have stabilized the country's political scene, the Philippine economy appears headed for takeoff. Hopefully, this will benefit the company's subsidiaries and affiliates' operations which are providing some buffer to the company's losses from the mining side.
 BENGUET CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Unaudited Consolidated Results of Operations
 In Thousands (Except Per Share Data)
 Three Months Ended
 June 30,
 PHILIPPINE PESOS 1992 1991
 Operating Revenue P 1,031,900 P 945,700
 Operating Profit 44,600 115,400
 Other Income
 (Expenses) -- Net ( 27,600) ( 95,300)
 Net Income(A) P 17,000 P 20,100
 Earnings Per Share(B) P 0.15 P 0.18
 U.S. DOLLARS(C)
 Operating Revenue $ 40,336 $ 34,079
 Operating Profit 1,745 4,159
 Other Income
 (Expenses) -- Net ( 1,081) ( 3,435)
 Net Income(A) $ 664 $ 724
 Earnings Per Share(C) $ 0.006 $ 0.006
 Six Months Ended
 June 30,
 PHILIPPINE PESOS 1992 1991
 Operating Revenue P 1,953,900 P 1,990,400
 Operating Profit 93,200 304,700
 Other Income
 (Expenses) -- Net ( 47,600) ( 188,800)
 Net Income(A) P 45,600 P 115,900
 Earnings Per Share(B) P 0.40 P 1.02
 U.S. DOLLARS(C)
 Operating Revenue $ 76,374 $ 71,725
 Operating Profit 3,643 10,981
 Other Income
 (Expenses) -- Net ( 1,860) ( 6,804)
 Net Income(A) $ 1,783 $ 4,177
 Earnings Per Share(C) $ 0.016 $ 0.037
 (A) Deferred income tax is computed on a partial application basis. The effect of this method is nil in 1992. In 1991, the effect is to increase net income for the second quarter by P5,700,000 (US$205,000) but to decrease net income for the six months by P1,300,000 (US$48,000).
 (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 P25.58 to US$1.00 in 1992 (P27.75 to US$1.00 in 1991).
 -0- 8/20/92
 /CONTACT: Robert V. Schnabel, U.S. counsel, Benguet Corporation, 202-638-2241/
 (BE) CO: Benguet Corporation ST: IN: MNG SU:


MH -- DC003 -- 1608 08/20/92 09:38 EDT
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Date:Aug 20, 1992
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