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MANILA ELECTRIC: Will Start Paying PHP12-Bil. Loan by Jan. 2008

Troubled Company Reporter, June 11, 2007 

Manila Electric Co. will begin to amortize its PHP12 billion loan by paying about PHP2 billion to PHP3 billion by January of 2008, treasurer Rafael Andrada told ABS-CBN Interactive.

The loan, which it borrowed in 2006, will mature in 6 years with a grace period of one year, according to Mr. Andrada.  The power distributor used the loan to augment its yearly budget for capital program to PHP500 million.

PHP6 billion of the loan comprises the fixed-rate tranche and has an annual interest rate of 9%.  The other half represents the floating-rate tranche that it auctioned off on December 4, 2006, in which BDO Capital & Investment Corp. acted as financial advisor.

Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. posted a net income of PHP2.23 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2007, a 13.3% increase from the PHP1.96 billion net income that it reported for the quarter ended March 31, 2006.

For the first quarter of 2007, the company earned total operating income of PHP9.37 billion, on interest income of PHP9.55 million and interest and finance charges of PHP1.19 billion.  Total operating expenses for the January-March 2007 totaled PHP6.72 billion.  This compares to the PHP9.05 billion operating income and PHP6.63 billion operating expenses for the comparable period in 2006.

As of March 31, 2007, the company has total assets of PHP663.39 billion and total liabilities of PHP591.13 billion, resulting in a total equity of PHP68.4 billion.  This compares to the PHP570.46 billion in total assets, PHP509.35 billion in total liabilities and PHP57.57 billion total equity reported as of the first quarter of 2006.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company -- -- is the flagship company of the Metrobank Group.  Metrobank provides a host of deposit, savings, and loan products as well as electronic banking services like internet banking, mobile banking, and phone banking, as well as its huge ATM network.  Metrobank is also the leading provider of trade finance in the country, and its overseas branch network has enabled it to service the fund remittances of Filipino
overseas contract workers.

The bank has 583 local branches and 35 international branches and offices located in Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, Guam, United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bahamas, and in Europe.

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The Troubled Company Reporter - Asia Pacific reported on November 6, 2006, that Moody's Investors Service has revised the outlook of Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.'s foreign currency long-term deposit rating of B1 and foreign currency subordinated debt rating of Ba3 from negative to stable.

The outlooks for Metropolitan Bank's foreign currency Not-Prime short-term deposit rating and bank financial strength rating of D remain stable.

On March 3, 2006, the Troubled Company Reporter - Asia Pacific reported that Standard and Poor's Rating Service assigned a CCC+ rating on Metrobank's US$125-million non-cumulative capital securities, whereas Moody's Investors Service Rating Agency issued a B- rating on the same capital instruments. 

On September 21, 2006, the TCR-AP reported that Fitch Ratings upgraded Metrobank's Individual rating to 'D' from 'D/E'.  All the bank's other ratings were affirmed:

   * Long-term Issuer Default rating 'BB-' -- with a stable

   * Short-term rating 'B,'

   * Support rating '3.

On November 6, 2006, the TCR-AP reported that Moody's Investors Service revised the outlook of Metrobank's foreign currency long-term deposit rating of B1 and foreign currency subordinated debt rating of Ba3 from negative to stable.

Headquartered in Ortigas, Pasig City, the Manila Electric Company -- -- is the largest utility in the Philippines, providing power to 4.1 million customers in Metropolitan Manila and more than 100 surrounding communities. 

As deregulation takes effect, Meralco is reducing its dependence on state-owned National Power Corp. by increasing the amount of power it purchases from independent power producers.  Meralco is also preparing for competition by moving into non-regulated activities, including energy consulting, independent power production, engineering, fiber optics, e-commerce, and real estate.

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A March 31, 2006 report by the Troubled Company Reporter - Asia Pacific stated that the company posted a 79.7% decrease in its 2005 net losses to PHP411 million from PHP2.03 billion in 2004, due to provisions for probable losses while awaiting a Supreme Court final decision on a pending unbundling rate case, and the adoption of new accounting standards.

In a TCR-AP report on April 24, 2006, it was noted that Manila Electric cannot seek a loan to expand its facilities unless it repays outstanding short-term debts amounting to around PHP4.7 billion.

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