Ice cream and pasta maker RFM boosts Q3 profit by 20%

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RFM President and Chief Executive Officer Jose A. Concepcion III -- Bernard Testa/InterAksyon

RFM Corp. posted a net income of P211 million in the third quarter, higher by 20% compared with the level in the same period last year, it said on Friday, pointing to ice cream sales as propelling growth.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, it also said revenues reached P3.16 billion, up 7% over the previous year.

RFM President and Chief Executive Officer Jose A. Concepcion III said sales of Selecta ice cream drove the company’s strong third-quarter showing as the country had a “relatively less-than-usual wet weather” during the period.

RFM’s ice cream joint venture with Unilever Philippines Ltd. sells ice cream under the Selecta, Cornetto and Magnum, among other brands.

In contrast, RFM described as “flat” revenues from its Royal and Fiesta pasta brands as well as from Selecta Milk and Sunkist juices. But it said expectations are for “growth to pick up in the fourth quarter” when the holiday selling season begins.

It said the increase in revenues of the company’s private label bread unit was sustained, helping offset the weaker performance of other institutional revenue sources, including flour.

The company said overall, the strong net income for the quarter places RFM “on track” to beat its 2016 net income of P1 billion.

Mr. Concepcion said RFM’s total cash dividends for 2017 has amounted to P500 million or P0.14 per share. The company recently declared a second cash dividend of P200 million or P0.057 per share for shareholders as of the Oct. 11, 2017 record date.

He said the latest dividend payout completes the company’s 50% cash dividend on recurring net income after it declared and paid P300 million early this year.

He also said that apart from the 50% dividend payout and current share buyback program, RFM is continuing to ensure its growth momentum with the planned P1-billion capital expenditure program for the ice cream joint venture “that would ensure adequate production capacity over the long term.”

“There is also a P250 million capex for RFM’s flour unit over two years to upgrade the flour mills and ensure competitiveness of the flour brands,” he added.

On Friday, shares in RFM climbed 3.3% to P4.70 each. – V.V. Saulon