PRYCE CORP. on Tuesday said it saw its net income rose by 9.4% to P396.36 million in the first quarter, driven by the increase in sales of its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) products.

In a disclosure sent to the stock exchange, the listed firm noted that its consolidated revenues went up 24.2% to P3.18 billion in the January–March period, compared to P2.56 billion recorded in the same period in 2019.

Revenue growth came on the back of strong LPG sales which went up 15.1% to 58,745 metric tons (MT) from 51,047 MT it previously posted.

The company primarily sells LPG cylinders and accessories and generator sets which accounted for 95.3% of its total revenues.

The higher quarter-on-quarter average price in the international benchmark LPG contract price of $527 per MT, which is reflected in the price of local LPG, also contributed to its revenue growth.

As of April 2, local oil companies slashed LPG prices by P9.60 to P10.70 per kilogram (kg) or about P106-P118 per 11-kg cylinder. In Metro Manila, prices of household LPG ranged from P493.00–P689.00 per 11-kg cylinder.

Pryce said its first quarter performance was slightly impacted by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic since March.

Should the global health crisis persist throughout the year, the company said, its sales volume could drop between 5% to 10% compared with the previous year.

“The government’s Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) only slightly affected the Company’s first quarter performance since the ECQ was implemented near the end of the quarter (3rd week of March 2020),” it said in a statement.

“However, the Company expects the succeeding quarters to be adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. A fall of anywhere between 5% to 10% in sales volume (compared to 2019 levels) could result if the pandemic continues throughout the year. It is our hope that this disrupting phenomenon will be resolved soon,” it added.

The listed company primarily imports and distributes LPG under its major unit Pryce Gas, Inc., aside from producing industrial gases, owning real estate developments, as well as selling generic drugs through Pryce Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

On Tuesday, shares in Pryce inched up 0.24% to close at P4.21 each. — Adam J. Ang