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RHI narrows net loss in Q1

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ROXAS HOLDINGS, Inc. (RHI) narrowed its net loss by 2% during the first quarter of crop year 2018, as revenues surged on higher volume of sugar sold.

In a statement, RHI said it posted a net loss of P110 million during the three-month period ending December, lower than the P112 million posted a year ago.

The integrated sugar and ethanol producer’s fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Consolidated revenues rose 39% to P2.07 billion during the first quarter, from P1.49 billion a year ago, boosted by higher sales of sugar.

For the quarter, RHI sold 786,173 kilogram bags (LKg) of raw sugar, 189% higher than the 272,374 LKg recorded a year ago. Volume of refined sugar went up 23% to 431,014 LKg. One LKg is equal to one 50-kilogram bag of sugar.

RHI Chairman Pedro E. Roxas in a statement said the first quarter is usually a slow period, but revenues from sugar operations doubled to P1.8 billion during the first quarter from P904 million a year ago due to sales of inventory from the previous crop year.

RHI President and CEO Hubert D. Tubio said the company’s gross profit increased 35% to P144 million due to higher revenues and improved efficiencies.

“We are seeing improvements in efficiencies, which resulted to higher production volumes at improved levels of production cost,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

RHI Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Celso T. Dimarucut said the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization jumped 4% to P191 million in the first quarter versus 2017’s P183 million.

“While the Group’s interest expense for the period rose to P122 million in Q1 2018 from the P98 million in the previous year, carryover inventory sold during Q1 2018 reduced debt level by P527 million,” Mr. Dimarucut said.

Incorporated in 1927 as a sugar milling company, RHI became a holding and investment corporation in 2002, integrating its various sugar businesses, branching out to sugar, tolling and refining, energy and bioethanol.

RHI’s shares on Thursday were up 25 centavos or 6.85% to close at P3.90 each.

Most of RHI’s shares are owned by Hong Kong-based company First Pacific Co., Ltd., which also owns the PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit under PLDT’s beneficial trust fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has partial interest over BusinessWorld through its Philippine Star Group. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato