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Century Pacific nets P3.9-B in 2020; enters refrigerated food

April 5, 2021

CENTURY Pacific Food, Inc. (CNPF), one of the country’s leading branded food companies, booked a 24-percent increase in net income to PHP3.9 billion last year even amid the pandemic.      Its consolidated revenues also grew by 19 percent to PHP48.3 billion in 2020, driven primarily by the outperformance of the Branded business with sales rising by 25 percent versus the same period last year.      “We saw robust demand for our branded products all throughout 2020 –beginning with a strong pre-Covid-19 performance, followed by pandemic-related demand spikes, then sustained growth to wrap up the year due largely to the essentials and staples nature of our portfolio,” CNPF executive chairman Christopher Po said in a statement Wednesday.        The Branded business -composed primarily of the Marine, Meat, and Milk business units– remains to be majority of the company’s overall sales representing 81 percent of total topline.      The balance of CNPF’s 19 percent of sales is accounted for by its commodity-linked original equipment manufacturer (OEM) export business, which saw topline decline 1 percent year-on-year as a result of softer commodity prices, reallocation of capacity to domestic requirements, and a stronger peso.       It, however, continued to contribute positively to the company’s net income and cash flows.      “Amidst the uncertainties of 2020, our strong position allowed us to focus primarily on the future --improving our digital capabilities, increasing capacities across our value chain, and building up a robust pipeline of innovative and new products. Over the next 12 to 18 months, we look forward to releasing these to market as we persist in our mission of providing affordable nutrition to the Filipino population,” Po said.       CNPF has previously disclosed a double-digit topline and bottomline growth target for this year despite a high 2020 base and continued uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic.       The growth target is due largely to resilient demand for the company’s core branded products, recovery in its OEM export business, and increased contribution from new products and emerging categories.      Starting April 1 this year, the emerging categories will include refrigerated food following the company’s acquisition of Pacific Meat Company, Inc. (PMCI) -an emerging player in the large refrigerated food category.       PMCI, a fellow subsidiary of CNPF’s parent company, comes equipped with its own manufacturing facilities, cold chain distribution, and a robust innovation pipeline of refrigerated better-for-you products.       It is expected to provide CNPF with growth opportunities in a major segment of the food market.      “We are looking at refrigerated food as another platform for growth and look forward to bringing in PMCI as it has now hit scale and built out a pipeline of new products that will supplement CNPF’s. It will provide capabilities in a completely different food segment which is growing and will have synergies with the shelf-stable part of our portfolio,” Po said. (PR)

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Coca-Cola PH to inoculate 10K employees, families

April 5, 2021

COCA-COLA Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI) has announced that it will give free vaccines against Covid-19 for its 10,000 employees and their immediate family members.      CCBPI president and chief executive officer Gareth McGeown said the firm’s initiative is in support of the government’s goal to rebuild the economy by giving Filipino workers protection against the coronavirus.      “Our People-First commitment means that we are responsible for our employees and their families especially during these most challenging times,” McGeown said in a statement Wednesday.      He added that the company provides health maintenance organization coverage for its employees and their family members in its 20 manufacturing plants and 70 distribution centers and sales office.      During the pandemic, CCBPI also strictly implements safety and sanitation standards to avoid the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace.      McGeown said the company has allocated P2 billion as assistance for its employees amid the global health and economic crisis.      “Our biggest achievement is that we did not have to let anyone go because of the pandemic,” he said. “Creating and championing a people-centric culture is not the job of one person alone. Every single person in the organization made this possible, a shared responsibility among the company’s 10,000 employees.” (PR)

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Cebu Landmasters set to launch its flagship economic housing brand to four more VisMin cities in 2021

March 8, 2021

Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) recently announced the 2021 rollout of its flagship economic housing brand Casa Mira to four more key cities in the Visayas-Mindanao region as the response to the massive demand for safe and secure value housing heightened by the pandemic.      A study from Leechiu Property Consultants disclosed that by 2022, housing backlog is estimated to reach 6.8 million housing units, 44% of which is from the economic segment catered by the Casa Mira brand.      CLI chief executive officer Jose Soberano III observed that the housing backlog in the Visayas Mindanao region became very apparent in 2020 as infections from COVID-19 surged highlighting a need for economic housing in secure and well-planned communities.      He said: “Many new residential seekers met that need by purchasing Casa Mira homes. As demand in other parts of the region continues to be largely unmet, we’ve made it our mission to roll out more Casa Mira projects in more VisMin cities to fill that gap.”      Ten Casa Mira communities with a development cost of P10.24 billion and a total of over 10,000 housing units are currently in five VisMin locations: Cebu, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Sibulan, Negros Oriental.      New developments will be launched in Dumaguete this month and in other key cities in VisMin in the next few months particularly in Ormoc, Puerto Princesa and Davao City.      At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Vismin residents purchased in record numbers CLI’s Casa Mira housing units priced from Php 1.6 M. They altogether accounted for 69% of CLI’s reservation sales of P14.23 billion, the firm’s highest to date. This robust sales figure indicates the level of revenue CLI will be recording in the future of which Casa Mira has always been a significant contributor with 30% share.      “We believe that an expansive mood and lessons learned from the pandemic–where homes in well-planned communities provided a safe haven–will drive Casa Mira forward for the balance of the year,” says Soberano.      Through Casa Mira, CLI has maintained the largest residential market share in Visayas and Mindanao by upgrading the lifestyle of its residents with generous community amenities usually packaged with higher-priced developments. Thus, Casa Mira townhouses with floor areas from 40 sqm. to 62 sqm. or residential condominium units with floor areas from 20 sqm. to 36 sqm. are perceived to offer great value.      Casa Mira communities also offer more value to the buyers by providing more open spaces and more amenities such as a clubhouse with multi-purpose halls, chapel, swimming pool, basketball court and children’s playground. Casa Mira is also envisioned to be a complete community with retail spaces inside the subdivisions where residents can purchase their basic necessities.      Casa Mira homes have been warmly received in every city, even in Dumaguete where it was recently launched. Casa Mira Home Dumaguete offers a gated and well-planned community located near a transport hub, schools and churches; and has 586 townhouse units a short walk away from a community clubhouse, swimming pool, multi-purpose court, and play area.      As much as 60% of the development’s 6.1 hectares in phase 1 has been earmarked as open space allowing residents breathing and leisure space. Moreover, the community is protected by a 24-hour security system and enjoys professional property management services offered by a CLI affiliate.      “We envision each Casa Mira project to provide the most ideal community for the average Filipino Family. It’s a place where families can grow and live their best lives,” explained Soberano.      Casa Mira projects have won various awards. Casa Mira South in Cebu was named Best Housing Development in the province by PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards 2018. The same development was named as the Best House of the Year in the Visayas and Mindanao during the Outlook Awards 2018 by Lamudi. In 2019, Lamudi named Casa Mira Towers in Labangon as the Best Affordable Condo of the Year.      The brand’s rapid expansion from its first developments in Cebu, to Negros Oriental, to Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod in the past seven years attests to its ability to meet its promise “to give more to the Filipino family.”      With the rapid development of CLI, the stockholders of the company have approved the 123% stock dividends during the special stockholders’ meeting. The purpose is to strengthen the capital base of the listed company that now has more than P50 billion total assets, and to prepare the firm for any significant equity raising opportunities. The aforementioned stock dividends will be sourced from the increase in authorized capital stock of CLI upon approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Economist eyes further improvement of PH manufacturing sector

March 8, 2021

FURTHER reopening of the domestic economy and easing of quarantine level to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) nationwide in the coming months are expected to further lift the manufacturing sector.      This, after Markit’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the Philippines remains steady at 52.5 in the second month this year.      In a report, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said the latest PMI is the highest in more than two years or since December 2018, and a reversal of the 49.2 print in December 2020.      “(It is) a pleasant surprise since it is slightly higher/better vs.52.3 a year ago or in February 2020 or shortly before the Covid-19 lockdowns/pandemic; a leading indicator that could suggest further pick up in business/economic activities for the second straight month of 2021 as sustained even after the Christmas season in December 2020,” he said.      A PMI index of above 50 indicates expansion while an index of below 50 means contraction.      Ricafort said the possible easing of the quarantine level in the remaining areas under GCQ, like the National Capital Region (NCR), will result in “higher capacity for many businesses/industries, which may lead further pick up in manufacturing activities as well.”      Citing news reports, he said a shift to MGCQ will only be allowed if the supply of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines has reached 2 million and rollout continues.      On Monday, the government launched its inoculation program using part of the 600,000 doses of Sinovac-produced CoronaVac, which were donated by China.      Among those that were given the vaccine are UP-PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at UP-National Institutes of Health; and Covid-19 testing czar Vince Dizon.      “Further reduction in new Covid-19 cases could be helped further by the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in the coming months of 2021, as well any further confirmation on the effectiveness of existing Covid-19 vaccines to control the new variants/strains that are more contagious, would help improve sentiment on economy, thereby allowing more businesses and people to work and also support more economic activities that result to increased spending/consumption, which also help fundamentally boost manufacturing activities,” Ricafort added. (PNA)

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Cebu Pacific taps local banks for P16-B loan

March 8, 2021

CEBU Air, Inc., operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, on Friday said its board approved a P16-billio, ten-year loan from local banks.      In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Friday, the company said that its board of directors approved the loan from state banks Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines, in partnership with private banks.      The private banks include Asia United Bank Corporation, Bank of the Philippines Islands, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, and Union Bank of the Philippines.      The loan will be used to fund the firm’s capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes.      “The loan will also provide a cushion against unexpected working capital requirements that may stem from fuel price and foreign exchange rate volatility,” Cebu Air said.      The commercial airline industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Cebu Pacific currently operates less than a quarter of its pre-pandemic network at 32 domestic destinations as it runs half of its 73 aircraft.      The budget carrier said that it sustained severe revenue declines during the pandemic, but its net debt-to-equity ratio was still at 2.34x as of the end of September.      “Cebu Pacific remains focused on its business transformation to reduce its unit cost so as to continue to offer affordable flights,” Cebu Air President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Y. Gokongwei said.      The company swung to a net loss of P14.69 billion for the first nine months of 2020 from the P6.77-billion profit in the same period a year earlier.      The fundraising adds to the company’s convertible preferred shares offering, where it plans to raise around P12.5 billion, Cebu Pacific Director for Financial Analytics and Investor Relations Trina E. Asuncion said on Wednesday.

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Emperador’s global presence continues to expand across North America, Europe and China

October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines - Emperador Inc. – the world’s largest brandy company owning the iconic Emperador Brandy and Fundador Spanish Brandy de Jerez – continues its aggressive growth across North America and Europe during the first nine months of the year even as the global pandemic adversely hit most countries in these continents.       Fundador, Tres Cepas, and Emperador brands have been growing consistently, particularly in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Greater China. In Spain, brands owned and produced under Grupo Emperador España S.A. continue to dominate the brandy market with 40% market share.      Fundador has been particularly showing spectacular performance even in North America. In the United States alone, Fundador achieved 23% growth during the first nine months of the year. In Canada, sales have also tripled during the first nine months as Fundador Light has been made available in Alberta, Canada as a new expression this year. The new Fundador Double Light was also rolled out across the US.       Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Fundador grew 185% during the first nine months, while in Italy, it recorded 15% growth during the same period. Emperador’s brandy performance, on the other hand, achieved 8% growth in Mexico during this period.      “We are glad that the company was able to deliver solid performance in the first nine months of 2020 on the strength of its international business that we have developed in the past five years.  The highest international growth comes from China, which is expected to more than double from last year, which will be driven by the premium single malt brands and brandy.  We are confident that this will pave the way for further growth in the future for Emperador,” says Glenn Manlapaz, chief executive officer, Emperador International.      As international sales of its brandy and whisky products in various markets around the world, Emperador recorded 11% growth in its net income to P5.9-billion during the first nine months of the year while third quarter earnings achieved 26% record growth to P2.5-billion as overseas demand for its products surged amid the global pandemic.       “The success of our international expansion boosted company earnings, bringing stability and growth at a time when the Philippines wrestles with the impact of the coronavirus.  Emperador’s global business saw double-digit growth as it adapted well to new consumption trends,” says Winston Co, president, Emperador Inc.      Emperador Inc., which owns Emperador Distillers, Inc., Scotch whisky maker Whyte and Mackay Group, and Bodegas Fundador in Spain, has brandy and whisky brands that are available in more than 100 countries around the world.

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