AXELUM Resources Corp. has completed a P250-million project to expand its spray-drying line in its Misamis Oriental plant, which is seen to double the company’s capacity in producing coconut milk powder.

In a statement yesterday, the newly listed coconut manufacturer said the completion of the expansion project will increase the daily capacity of its plant to 20 metric tons (MT) of coconut milk powder from the current 10 MT. This is equivalent to an annual capacity of 4,800 MT for the plant.

Axelum President and Chief Operating Officer Henry J. Raperoga said coconut milk powder is “one of the most profitable” for the company, hence its effort to improve capacity in producing such.

“The new spray-drying line will allow us to develop new products from agglomerated — or instant — coconut milk powder,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

Axelum is anticipating an increase in global demand for coconut-based products, particularly for organic coconut milk powder. It said earlier this month it secured an order to export 170 MT of organic coconut milk powder valued at around $1.3 million.

“Pound-for-pound, the selling price of coconut milk powder is three to four times that of our mainline product desiccated coconut. Coconut milk powder and desiccated coconut are produced from the same raw material. Thus, the addition of this new spray-drying line enables us to shift production to higher margin products,” Mr. Raperoga said.

He also said Axelum wants to tap the growing market of health-conscious consumers worldwide that are willing to spend more for organic products.

“[T]he company is exploring the introduction and production of more gluten-free, dairy-free, and organic variants of existing product offerings. The expansion will permit us to actively pursue the development of these products,” he said.

Axelum was able to produce about 2,400 MT of coconut milk powder last year, of which 1,300 MT was exported and 872 MT was distributed domestically. The product added P658 million in gross revenues to the company last year. — Denise A. Valdez