CANNED FRUITS manufacturer Del Monte Pacific Ltd. is expecting to swing back to profitability in 2021 as it continues the optimization of production facilities.

In a presentation to stockholders uploaded to the exchange on Thursday, Del Monte said it is expanding its product portfolio to push back its bottomline to record an income for the next fiscal year.

“The (Del Monte) Group is expected to return to profitability in fiscal year 2021, barring unforeseen circumstances,” it said.

“Aside from the (Del Monte) base business, (US subsidiary Del Monte Foods, Inc.) is also well-positioned to improve performance in fiscal year 2021 with better sales mix and management of costs,” it added.

The company swung to an attributable net loss of $81.39 million in its fiscal year ending April 2020, which it said was due to one-off expenses from the closure of its US facilities and the retirement of loans.

Excluding the one-off items, the company saw a recurring net profit of $32.2 million, more than double the $15.8 million it saw in the previous fiscal year.

Del Monte said it is performing well despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, as many people have started to cook their own food at home.

“We are benefiting from the COVID-19 environment as consumers turn to trusted brands, shelf-stable and culinary products for home cooking,” it said.

However, the company warned it may still incur a net loss in the first quarter due to the seasonal nature of its business. But for the remaining quarters, it expects to post an income.

“Our strategy is to strengthen the core business, expand the product portfolio, in line with market trends for health and wellness, and grow our branded business while reducing non-strategic business segments,” it said.

Shares in Del Monte at the stock exchange closed at P4.80 apiece on Thursday, up five centavos or 1.05% from the previous day. — Denise A. Valdez