EARNINGS of San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc. (SMFB) dropped 20% in the first quarter due to excise taxes and the prohibition of alcoholic drinks during the lockdown period.

In a statement Thursday, the food and beverage arm of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said its net income for the three-month period stood at P5.8 billion. Consolidated revenues likewise slipped 9% to P69 billion.

The beer division posted an 18% revenue drop to P28.4 billion, driven by a decline in volumes due to a liquor ban in areas under quarantine.

Revenues from the spirits division also fell 10% to P7.5 billion, overturning a 15% growth in sales volumes during January and February.

“While its beer and spirits divisions started the year with good momentum, the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine, together with the imposition of liquor bans across key cities, negatively impacted sales of its alcoholic beverages,” the company said.

Despite the turnout for its liquor businesses, the company’s food division recorded higher sales during the period, posting a 2% growth in consolidated revenues to P33.2 billion.

Revenues from prepared and packaged food grew 16%, lifted by higher demand for processed meats, dairy, spreads, biscuits and coffee. The company said it saw consumers stocking up on essential supplies in the days leading to the lockdown and during the lockdown itself.

Consolidated operating income stood at P8.6 billion, down 20% year-on-year.

“The road to recovery may be long. However, over the last 130 years, we successfully overcame many challenges. We remain confident that with our strong fundamentals and ability to deliver good and affordable products to our consumers, we will overcome this once again,” SMFB President and Chief Executive Ramon S. Ang said in the statement.

The price of shares in SMFB at the stock exchange increased P1.20 or 1.94% to P62.95 each on Thursday. Shares in its parent SMC fell 10 centavos or 0.10% to P95.90 each. — Denise A. Valdez