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Fruitas incurs losses as pandemic hits food sector

FRUITAS Holdings, Inc. recorded a P48-million net loss last year due to lower consolidated revenues caused by the temporary closure of some of its stores amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a stock exchange disclosure on Thursday, the listed food and beverage kiosk operator said consolidated revenues dropped 54% to P892 million in 2020 from the P1.95 billion recorded the year earlier.

Last year’s net loss is a reversal of the P122-million net income in 2019.

“2020 was a challenging year of personal hardship for all Filipinos. In business, the food service sector was significantly affected. Like many others in support of our employees and our nation’s economy, we adapted quickly by expanding service channels and adding products,” Fruitas President and Chief Executive Officer Lester C. Yu was quoted as saying.

For the fourth quarter of 2020, Fruitas said it recorded a net loss of P11 million, lower than the P19-million net loss it had the previous quarter.

Its consolidated revenues for the October-December period reached P263 million, a 58% increase from P167 million in the third quarter, while its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) reached P19 million.

The company’s operating expenses during the fourth quarter rose 39% to P139 million, compared with the P100 million recorded in the prior quarter.

“However, the increase in operating expenses was much lower than the comparative 58% revenue increase, highlighting the company’s strong ability to boost profits as revenues increase,” the company said.

As of end-2020, Fruitas said it reopened 819 stores, adding that it is prepared to reopen more than 150 stores as quarantine restrictions are lifted. The said stores remained temporarily closed as initiated by the lessors, most of which are situated in schools, office buildings, food courts, and near cinemas.

The company added that 30 community stores under its Babot’s Farm and Soy & Bean brands also opened as of end-2020, with 50 stores targeted to be established by the end of April this year.

“As previously disclosed, community stores are now contributing approximately ten percent of revenues, which will further expand. Fruitas is on track to increase the number of its community stores to 100 through 2021,” the company said.

On Thursday, shares of Fruitas at the stock exchange rose 1.44% or two centavos to end at P1.41 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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