Managing Director and CEO's Letter
It’s been quite a year, one unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes. However, there is continuity from before this extraordinary period of COVID-19 pandemic to after. First Pacific’s businesses remain strong and diversified in Asia, across consumer food products, telecommunications, infrastructure and natural resources, with a broad commitment to earning our income from delivering the products and services that consumers in the growing economies of Asia want. This has been our strength in the 40 years of our existence, and it is our strength now.
Our model sustains us in difficult times when demand is low, and raises our earnings in periods of economic upswing. It has served us well for four decades culminating in 2020 when we delivered earnings growth in spite of a very difficult time.
The First Pacific Group of companies have acquitted themselves well in an extraordinary year. Our operating companies have proved resilient in the face of this unprecedented crisis and our staff and management across the Group have revealed strengths that perhaps many did not know they have. I am proud of all our people and join them in recalling our losses even as we look to the future of a new post-COVID world.
Just last year, Indofood achieved a record top line as strong demand for our Consumer Branded Products was boosted by our acquisition of Pinehill late in the year. PLDT, the highest-quality telecommunications and data services provider in the Philippines, saw its top line raised to a record high by surging demand for data services. MPIC observed a shift in demand for its electricity and water businesses from commerce and industry to residential consumers as COVID-19 community quarantines changed how many Filipinos live and work. Its hospitals business, now 18 hospitals strong, stepped up to lead a response to the pandemic of which I and all of us at First Pacific can only be proud.
Having adapted to the new conditions of a difficult year, our companies are well positioned as First Pacific enters its fifth decade. Indofood is seeing continuing appetite for its high-quality food products as foreign expansion increases its scope for growth. After several years of billion-dollar capital expenditures, PLDT is firmly placed as the largest and highest-quality telecommunications provider in the Philippines. The businesses of MPIC are poised for a return to growth as the end of lockdown reopens transportation and commercial and industrial demand for water and electricity even as it invests in new businesses such as the storage of petroleum products for diversified growth.
I am proud of all our First Pacific people and join them in recalling our losses even as we look to the future of a new post-COVID world. As we look forward, we can be confident that the businesses of First Pacific are well positioned to take advantage of economic growth in our markets. Our 2020 results demonstrate that we are competitive, providing products and services that our customers want as First Pacific marks its 40th anniversary and enters its fifth decade in a position of strength.
As I said to you one year ago, before we had a complete understanding of the difficulties we would face in 2020, I am confident in expecting steady and strong earnings growth in the years ahead. I remain so today.
Manuel V Pangilinan
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
30 March 2021