Friday, April 19, 2024

Philippine Top Food Ingredients, Oleochemical Producer To Expand Export Market

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Philippine Top Food Ingredients, Oleochemical Producer To Expand Export Market

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The country’s top manufacturer of food ingredients and oleochemicals is eyeing to expand its export market as it sees market volatility easing this year.

In a virtual press briefing Thursday, D&L president and chief executive officer Alvin Lao said the listed firm plans to tap Middle Eastern and African markets for its products, adding to its current export markets, such as Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and the Americas.

“For new exports, we are exploring as far as Middle East and Africa. We’re quite aggressive now in terms of exports,” Lao said.

He shared that D&L’s Batangas facility has exceeded its export commitment to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) by 175 percent as of February as it fulfilled several orders from both local and overseas customers.

The Batangas plant has been running for seven months after it began its commercial operation in July 2023.

Forty-three percent of D&L’s exports in 2023 were food, 37 percent were oleochemicals, 18 percent were plastic specialty, and 2 percent were consumer products.

Lao added that with the less volatile global market, moderating inflation, prospects of rate cuts by the central bank, and the implementation of a higher biodiesel blend by July, D&L expects at least a 10 percent growth in its net income for the full year of 2024.

“We’re quite optimistic with 2024… Globally, if you look at the commodity prices in the past year, it has been tough… We don’t see that kind of volatility in 2024 anymore. For these reasons, at least, we can get a minimum 10 percent increase in net income,” he said.

D&L’s net income outlook for this year is a reversal from its 31-percent drop in earnings in 2023 to PHP2.3 billion from PHP3.3 billion in 2022 due to higher interest and operating expenses relating to its Batangas plant.

Meanwhile, the executive mentioned that its subsidiary Chemrez, the country’s biggest biodiesel manufacturer, will stand to benefit from the mandated increase in biodiesel blend in the country, which the Department of Energy (DOE) targets to implement on July 1, 2024.

The DOE’s draft circular aims to increase biodiesel blend in the country from 2 percent (B2) to 3 percent (B3) by the start of the second half of the year, to 4 percent (B4) after 12 months, and to 5 percent (B5) by July 1, 2026.

“A potential increase in blend to 3 percent, all else being equal, in theory, should lead to a 50 percent increase in biodiesel volumes which may also result in better margins and profitability for the industry,” D&L said in a statement.

For 2024, D&L’s capital expenditure is eyed between PHP456 million and PHP1.4 billion, its capex in 2018 and 2023, respectively. (PNA)