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Fruitas opens 30th community store, hits yearend target

FOOD AND BEVERAGE kiosks operator Fruitas Holdings, Inc. has opened its 30th community store under the Babot’s Farm and Soy & Bean brands at Suki Market in Mayon Street, Quezon City.

In a stock exchange disclosure on Monday, the company said it reached its yearend target for community stores with the recent store opening on Dec. 27. It added that another Soy & Bean store was opened in BF Homes, Parañaque in Dec. 23.

The community stores sell the same products from Fruitas such as fresh fruit juices, soy-based products, Fruitas and Soy & Bean ice cream, frozen Jamaican Patties and Shou Chinese delicacies.

Fruitas President and Chief Executive Officer Lester C. Yu said the company achieved its target within four months despite the implementation of quarantine measures across the country.

“We were also able to quickly adapt and widen our product range for such format. We believe that we are in stronger footing now with our community stores and delivery service, which is accessible through phone, dedicated website, and social media,” Mr. Yu said.

The company plans to expand its community store network to 100 by 2021.

Furthermore, Mr. Yu said Fruitas is still seeking ways to add new revenue and profit streams.

“The foodservice and retail sectors are evolving quickly and we need to also adapt our acquisition criteria. However, we continue to focus on our customers and seek ways to further facilitate customers’ access to Fruitas and deepen our relationship with them,” Mr. Yu said.

Meanwhile, Fruitas also announced that its board of directors approved the removal of restrictions in the use of proceeds from its initial public offering (IPO) allocated to acquisitions solely on food service targets.

The company said the board also authorized Fruitas’ management to evaluate fundraising options such as notes, bonds, and preferred shares, that can be used for longer-term growth capital.

“The completion of the IPO late last year introduced us to public investors and the additional equity capital also provided us additional debt capacity,” Fruitas Chief Financial Adviser Calvin F. Chua said.

“Having the ability to tap the capital markets is important at this time while interest rates remain low and there are a lot of opportunities to generate returns for our shareholders,” he added.

The company booked P820 million from its IPO in 2019. It recently bought a 909.5-square meter lot worth P140 million in Sta. Mesa, Manila as its new headquarters.

Fruitas trimmed its net loss to P19 million in the third quarter of the year due to better consolidated revenues and lower operating expenses.

Compared with the previous quarter, the company said its consolidated revenues rose 90% to P167 million, while its operating expenses excluding depreciation and amortization fell 56% to P102 million.

On Monday, shares in Fruitas at the stock exchange rose 0.58% or one centavo to close at P1.73 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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