Corporate roundup

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    SMC beer, spirits sales recover

    San Miguel Corp. said its beer and spirits businesses have shown “signs of a strong recovery” following the more than two months of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), registering immediate and significant volume growth with the easing of restrictions.

    Ramon Ang, San Miguel president, said beer unit San Miguel Brewery Inc. (SMB) saw significant volume recovery in June with the lifting of liquor bans in various areas nationwide starting mid-May.

    Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSMI) also reported a significant increase in demand, recording its highest volumes ever in June, Ang noted.

    In particular, SMB posted profits of P5 billion in the first semester, over revenues of P42.8 billion. Operating income amounted to P7.4 billion.

    “Demand for our beer and liquor products remain strong, and if June and July are any indication, we’re seeing signs of a strong recovery in the second half of the year,” said Ang.

    “We have been working steadily to adapt to the new normal, and adjust our operations where needed, to better serve the market during these challenging times. Despite the declaration of a new, two-week MECQ by government, I believe we’re in a better position now to build on our gains for the rest of the year and beyond. The strong demand we’re seeing is also a big encouragement,” he added.

    Still, the full impact of the lockdown is reflected on the first half performance of San Miguel’s beer business, Ang said.

    “Domestic operations volumes were lower than in the same six-month period last year, due to the implementation of the ECQ, liquor bans, the extended closure of beer selling outlets, as well as the imposition of higher excise taxes on beer products,” he said.

    “International operations likewise reflected the effect of different levels of lockdown and restrictions in countries where SMB operate, particularly in Indonesia. Hong Kong, Vietnam, and its Exports markets, however registered favorable results,” Ang also said.

    In the two months since quarantine restrictions were eased, Ang said both SMB and GSMI worked not only to get operations back up, but also to implement programs that will further strengthen each business’ resilience.

    GSMI started trade replenishments in mid-May, registering record June volumes, the highest ever recorded, Ang said. The company however failed to provide comparative figures.

    “We’re optimistic about this second half, especially since our first half reflects the full impact of the pandemic and the more than two-month quarantine. We look forward to executing on all the programs we’ve put in place, especially since it will boost not just our businesses, but also the many other small and medium enterprises in our supply chain, who are impacted by this pandemic,” he added.

    Splash focuses on hygiene products

    Filipino personal care company Splash Corp., more popular for its skin whitening products,  is rising up to the challenge posed by the new coronavirus 2019 pandemic by focusing production on its anti-bacterial brand of soap and alcohol.

    Vicci Tomas, president and chief operating officer of Splash, told delegates of the National Conference of Employers on August 4, the company’s top brands Skin White, Maxi Peel and Vitress hair products “had to take a backseat as we shifted our priorities from core brands to the new essential — alcohol and soap, Hygienix.”

    Splash, the biggest hand and body lotion manufacturer in the country, has seen demand for core products Skin White and Maxipeel suffer a decline in sales starting March as these products are considered  non- essential.

    “Given this, we had to be flexible and  ready to adopt new roles and responsibilities. Our Hygienix today is the largest brand in the anti-bacterial segment (and is now the)  fastest brand in its segment so we have to continue (its production) while other products had to stop,” Tomas said.

    From six stock-keeping units (SKUs) pre-COVID, Hygienix now has  17 SKUs. Sales have risen exponentially.

    “So (Splash had to be) very innovative. We engaged 127 families in Valenzuela to put  stickers on Hygienix products while at home on quarantine,” Tomas said.

    She added Splash did not lay off workers and granted hazard pay, provided shuttle service and meals to its workers. It also  implemented flexible work arrangements and ensured its plant is 100 percent operational.

    Maynilad completes initial upgrade of QC facility

    West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. said it completed the rehabilitation of eight sedimentation basins and 16 filters as well as the construction of a new sludge treatment facility as part of the upgrade of the first part of its La Mesa Treatment Plant (LMTP) in Quezon City as of July.

    The company said the enhancements are part of the P7.9- billion project to upgrade the LMTP 1 and 2 that together produce around 2,400 million liters of water per day, serving around 90 percent of the company’s 9.7 million customers.

    Maynilad said once all upgrades are completed, the entire facility will have enhanced treatment capacity, automated processes and earthquake-resilient structures.

    The water concessionaire is also targetting to add more than 14,000 customers to the sewerage system this year as it installs around 2,000 new sewer service connections in the city of Manila.

    The company said new sewer lines will further expand Maynilad’s existing sewerage system which catches wastewater generated by customers and conveys it to sewage treatment plants (STP) for proper treatment.

    Randolph Estrellado, Maynilad chief operating officer, said in a statement that  since 2007, the company has invested more than P40 billion into wastewater projects to bring the current wastewater infrastructure to 22 treatment facilities, 606 kilometers of sewer lines and 102 wastewater pumping/lift stations from only two STPs in 1997.

    MORE Power addresses illegal connections

    Iloilo City’s power distribution utility More Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) said  the number of illegal connections in the region has dropped significanrly since it introduced improved regulations.

    In an online briefing yesterday, Ariel Castañeda project head of the company’s apprehension team, said  more than 3,000 illegal connections cut off; with more  than 1,000 illegal connections converted to legal connection.

    Castañeda said this resulted in lower incidence of low voltage and power interruptions which are normally associated with overloading.

    MORE Power is aiming to reduce the estimated 30,000 illegal power connections in the city by half within the year as requirements were also relaxed to entice more customers to legalize their connections.