MANILA, November 29, 2004 (STAR) By Zinnia B. Dela PeŮa - Leading mobile phone services operator Smart Communications Inc. emerged as 2003ís most profitable company in the Securities and Exchange Commissionís (SEC) list of the largest 5,000 corporations in the country.

Smart, a subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), posted a net income of P16.12 billion last year or a sharp increase of 161 percent from the year earlierís P6.16 billion.

Robust sales allowed Smart to reenter the top 10 list after being eased out in 2002.

In terms of sales, however, the cellular firm ranked only 10th with consolidated revenues of P49.82 billion, according to the 2004 edition of the Philippines 5000, a joint project of SEC and credit ratings agency Credit Information Bureau Inc.

The top revenue grosser for 2003, on the other hand, was Baguio-based computer maker TI Phils. Inc. with gross sales of P159.41 billion, dislodging Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) which fell to second spot even as its revenues rose 7.3 percent to P132.4 billion.

TI Phils., however, ranked only 24th in profitability.

PLDT was number two with earnings of P11.18 billion or more than three times the P3.12 billion income earned in 2002.

For the first nine months of 2004, PLDT reported recurring profit of P18.3 billion compared with only P10 billion a year ago.

The dominant carrier was still unaffected by competition from new players as its profits went up by 10.2 percent to P5.7 billion from P5.2 billion in 1994.

Propelled by the sustained growth of its mobile phone business, PLDT is eyeing full-year earnings of P24 billion. As of end-September this year, the PLDT Groupís total cellular subscribers (including that of Talk íN Text) reached 17.5 million.

The PLDT Group is widely expected to book even better profits during the last quarter of the year when subscribers addition are usually at their peak.

Independent power producers Mirant Philippines Corp., Mirant Sual Corp. and Mirant Pagbilao were retained in the top 10 list, holding third slot, fifth slot and seventh slot, respectively.

In 2003, Mirant earned P10.6 billion, Mirant Sual (P7.89 billion), and Mirant Pagbilao (P5.65 billion).

On fourth spot was Globe Telecom, maintaining its position as it posted profits of P10.34 billion, up 51 percent from P6.34 billion.

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the financial services arm of the Ayala conglomerate, moved up to sixth from eighth as profits increased to P5.67 billion from P5.17 billion.

Landing on eighth place was the Lopez-owned First Generation Holdings with profits amounting to P5.3 billion.

A new entrant to the magic list was United Coconut Planters bank with profits of P5.04 billion. But it was number 37 in terms in of sales.

Multinational firm Nestle Corp. fell three notches lower to land on the lowest rung in terms of profit. The company posted profits of P4.96 billion or a decline of five percent from P5.22 billion.

Eased out from the top 10 list in terms of profits were the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., food and beverage giant San Miguel Corp., Citibank, and First Gas Power Corp.

Completing the top 10 grossers for 2003 include Toshiba Information Equipment Phils. which maintained its number three position with revenues of P129.17 billion followed by Petron Corp. (P111.12 billion), Philippinas Shell Petrolueum Corp. (P101.14 billion), PLDT (P58.6 billion), Caltex (P58.5 billion), Nestle (P50.37 billion), Globe Telecom (P50.66 billion), and Smart.

On the other hand, Lopez Inc. led the biggest money losers with losses of P3.36 billion, although it ranked 940th in sales. Pilipino Telephone Corp. came in second with losses amounting to P3.35 billion followed by Aces Phils. Cellular Satellite Corp., (P2.82 billion); Philips Semiconductors Phils. Inc. ,(P2.77 billion); College Assurance Plan Phils. Inc.,(P2.75 billion); Caltex Phils. ,(P1.92 billion); Lafarge Cement Phils. Inc., and Magellan Cogeneration Inc., (P1.58 billion).

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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