EARNINGS of cement manufacturer Holcim Philippines, Inc. dropped 29% in the first quarter, dragged by operational disruptions brought by lockdown measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

The listed firm said in a statement yesterday its net profit in the January to March period fell to P501.54 million from P703.86 million a year ago.

Net sales were down by 10% to P7.27 billion due to softer prices and lower volumes, especially in the month of March.

“Like the rest of the country, our company was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s efforts to address it,” Holcim Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer John Stull said in the statement.

The company closed all its sites and facilities in Luzon when the government imposed an enhanced community quarantine in mid-March. Holcim Philippines’ Davao plant also shut down in April due to a government-imposed quarantine.

To address the slowdown in the first quarter, the company said it is strictly controlling costs and spending until revenue levels recover. It is also drafting plans for the resumption of operations once allowed by the government.

“Once the government eases the quarantine measures, we are confident that our strong health and safety culture will enable us to protect our people’s well-being in our sites and safely resume operations to support our customers and re-start building activity in the country,” Mr. Stull said.

Holcim Philippines operates two integrated cement plants, one cement grinding plant and one dry mix plant in Luzon; and two integrated cement plants in Mindanao.

The company is currently in the process of being acquired by diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. for $2.15 billion. It is the local arm of Switzerland-based LafargeHolcim, Ltd.

Shares in Holcim Philippines at the stock exchange gained 30 centavos or 2.68% to P11.50 each on Thursday. — Denise A. Valdez