THE PHILIPPINES’ top 1,000 corporations bounced back in 2021, with their combined gross revenues hitting PHP 13.44 trillion as the economy slowly recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the BusinessWorld Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines report, the aggregate gross revenue of the top companies jumped 17.5% in 2021, from the PHP 11.44 trillion posted during the height of the pandemic in 2020. This was the fastest gross revenue growth since the 24.4% expansion recorded in 2001.
BusinessWorld defines aggregate gross revenue as the combination of net sales and non-operating income.
The top corporations’ combined net income surged 121.5% to PHP 1.82 trillion in 2021, from PHP 820.17 billion in the year prior. This profit growth was the biggest since the 160.3% rise seen in 2005.
The financial performance of the country’s biggest corporations reflected the recovery of the Philippine economy, as it reopened after the strict lockdowns implemented in 2020.
In 2021, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 5.7% in 2021, a turnaround from the record 9.5% contraction in 2020. Similarly, nominal GDP growth or output expansion based on current prices rose by 8.1%, reversing the 8% decline in 2020.
Now on its 36th year, the BusinessWorld Top 1000 ranks private and public stock corporations based on gross revenue using the latest available full-year audited financial statements.
The latest edition of the Top 1000 had a gross revenue cutoff of P2.254 billion, higher than the previous edition’s PHP 1.563 billion.
Among the Top 1000 companies, 793 saw their gross revenue increase in 2021 compared with 343 companies in the previous year.
More than half or 560 companies posted net income growth in 2021, while 224 saw their profit decline.
Another 102 firms posted a profit in 2021 after recording a net loss in the previous year, while 36 swung to a net loss. Seventy-eight firms remained in the red.
Firms included in the Top 1000 list represented 18 out of the 21 major sectors under the Philippine Standard Industrial Classification.
Fourteen sectors reported double-digit gross revenue growth, while two sectors, namely education and public administration and defense, saw their gross revenues decline. Two sectors, water supply and information technology and communication, posted single-digit revenue growth.
The manufacturing sector accounted for 35.5% of the total gross revenue in 2021 and had the most number of companies included in the list with 307.
The services sector continued to be the main engine of Philippine economic growth, accounting for 52% of the aggregate gross revenue in 2021.
Multinational companies included in the Top 1000 list made PHP 4.811 trillion, 16.2% more than in the previous year. They accounted for 35.8% of the Top 1000’s gross revenues.
Exporting firms recorded PHP 2.577 trillion in revenues, 19.7% higher than the previous year, and made up 27.7% of the list’s total gross revenues.
The latest edition included 203 corporations, of which 47 are first-time entrants.
For the second straight year, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) remained the Philippines’ top corporation by gross revenue. The power distributor posted P292.09 billion in gross revenue in 2021, up 9.8% from 2020. Meralco also topped the list in terms of net sales with P286.71 billion, and ranked 18th in terms of net income with P21.30 billion.
Petron Corp. ranked second, as gross revenue rose 34.3% to PHP 240.94 billion, a turnaround from 44.5% contraction in 2020. It also placed second in terms of net sales with PHP 237.07 billion. Petron swung to a net profit of PHP 2.67 billion in 2021, from a PHP 11.20-billion net loss in the previous year.
Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) climbed three spots to third place as its gross revenue jumped 13.4% to PHP 179.18 billion from PHP 158 billion in 2020. PSPC ranked third in terms of net sales (PHP 177.16 billion) and 112th in net income (PHP 3.86 billion).
Also included in the top 10 were BDO Unibank, Inc. (PHP 177.41 billion); PMFTC, Inc. (PHP 171.37 billion); Mercury Drug Corp. (PHP 165.34 billion); Globe Telecom, Inc. (PHP 147.73 billion); Toshiba Information Equipment (Philippines), Inc. (PHP 146.39 billion); Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (PHP 141.16 billion); and Nestlé Philippines, Inc. (PHP 134.25 billion).
The Top 1000 publication also provides a separate table ranking of these companies on a consolidated basis. This is different from the main top 1,000 list where the parent-only financial statements are used to account only for parent firms’ equitized earnings of their subsidiaries and associates.
San Miguel Corp. and its subsidiaries topped the list of the top 200 consolidated corporations, with PHP 983.75 billion in gross revenue in 2021, up 27.2% from PHP 773.57 billion previously.
Top Frontier Investment Holdings, Inc., the largest shareholder of SMC, ranked second with a gross revenue of PHP 982.69 billion, 26.9% higher year on year.
Petron and subsidiaries claimed the third spot with PHP 440.66 billion, a 51.8% increase year on year.
The rest of the top 10 conglomerates included SM Investments Corp. and subsidiaries (PHP 432.02 billion), Meralco and subsidiaries (PHP 325.93 billion), San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc. and subsidiaries (PHP 311.21), Ayala Corp. and subsidiaries (PHP 276.05 billion), Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. and subsidiaries (PHP 245.82 billion), JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and subsidiaries (PHP 244.87 billion), and BDO Unibank and subsidiaries (PHP 206.23 billion). — Lourdes O. Pilar