The General Santos manufacturing facility of Century Pacific Food

Heightened demand for shelf-stable food when the government locked down key regions starting mid-March boosted leading canned food producer Century Pacific Food Inc. (CNPF)’s first quarter net profit by 31 percent year-on-year to P1.04 billion.

Revenues went up by 24 percent year-on-year in the first three months to P12.1 billion, CNPF disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday.

In particular, sales of the branded businesses – marine, meat and milk – went up by 31 percent year-on-year to P10.1 billion, accounting for 83 percent of overall revenues.

Growth was seen across all business units as majority of its products are shelf-stable and consumed at home.

On the other hand, revenues from the commodity-linked export-oriented toll manufacturing service businesses were largely flat year-on-year, with some capacity being re-allocated to domestic requirements.

“During these challenging times, we recognize the importance of making our products as accessible as possible nationwide. Amidst logistical and operational challenges, we are able to run our factories and supply chain round the clock, thanks in part to the Department of Trade & Industry and the Inter Agency Task Force, as well as the agility and resourcefulness of our own team,” said Oscar Pobre, CNPF’s chief finance officer.

“Much of the credit goes to our frontliners – in production, logistics, and sales – who have been working day-in and day-out to support our products’ availability in retail stores and the various relief operations mounted by local government units, NGOs (non-government organizations), and private sector. One of our top priorities is the health, safety, and well-being of these frontliners, alongside that of our other employees,” he said.

In the first quarter, the company saw its operating expenses jump by 46 percent as it incurred additional costs in the implementation of employee assistance programs and enhanced procedures to ensure health and safety in the work place. These include various protective equipment and vitamins for employees, as well as transportation and dormitory services in some facilities.

The company also donated nearly one million food packs to hospitals and communities severely affected by COVID-19.

“There are still a lot of uncertainties as to what the balance of year will look like, including what the pandemic’s effects will be on the broader economy and consumer demand. Nonetheless, employee welfare and product availability will remain our top priorities and we are taking the necessary steps – including hiring additional personnel, increasing our logistic capabilities, and ramping up safety and security in our facilities – to help address the requirements as best we can,” said Pobre.

CNPF is the company behind household names such as Century Tuna, Argentina, 555, Angel, and Birch Tree.

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