Top Frontier upbeat on SMC rebound

MANILA – Parent firm Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc. maintained its positive outlook for San Miguel Corporation (SMC) as it hailed the conglomerate’s initiatives to help the country’s economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a statement Thursday, Top Frontier said while the quarantine has slowed down SMC’s growth momentum, the company is primed to recover lost ground in the coming months and help boost the economy, with strategies in place to adapt to the new business environment.
“As we transition to our next normal, I am confident that San Miguel Corporation will recover its footing sooner than expected,” Top Frontier Holdings Inc. chairman Inigo Zobel said.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang earlier said to stimulate and help boost the Philippine economy in this critical time, SMC would continue to invest in growth-creating and job-generating projects, including its ongoing capacity expansion and infrastructure development initiatives.
SMC has touted measures the company has put in place to adjust to the changing operating environment. These include making supply chains more resilient, updating operating and selling models, keeping its cost base appropriate and manageable; increasing efficiencies and rationalizing spending, and protecting its cash flows and pro-actively managing its working capital.
Top Frontier also praised SMC’s initiatives to help the country during the pandemic, including the recent inauguration of its Better World Edsa Covid-19 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing laboratory. The facility can process 4,000 tests daily, expandable to 12,000.
It aims to handle testing for some 70,000 employees and extended workers in SMC’s nationwide network, and boost the country’s overall testing capacity.
SMC has spent over PHP13 billion in assistance to the country, a package that includes food donations to vulnerable communities, disinfectant alcohol to health facilities, medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), free toll and fuel for medical health workers, emergency quarantine facilities, assistance to the agriculture sector, advance tax and other payments to the government, and continuing compensation for its workforce.
Meanwhile, SMC started strong in the first two months of 2020 as its Food and Beverage business grew revenues by 7 percent and the Packaging business by 8 percent.
The Power business posted volume growth in the same period but was offset by weaker prices amid increasing competition.
However, the disruptions resulting from the lockdown in Luzon and much of the Philippines that started last March 16 adversely affected SMC’s and Top Frontier’s total first-quarter 2020 performance.
Mining subsidiary Clariden Holdings Inc. also continues to undertake mine site activities, including in-fill drilling, that are consistent with existing mining laws and mindful of environmental and social impact. (PR)