ROXAS HOLDINGS, Inc. suffered a P333.39-million attributable net loss during its fiscal year’s January-March second quarter due to the effects of the La Niña weather phenomenon on sugar production.

The listed sugar and ethanol producer’s net loss attributable to the equity holders of the parent company is an expansion from P266.19 million a year ago, it told the stock exchange on Friday.

Revenues from contracts with customers amounted to P1.54 billion, 24.1% lower than the P2.03 billion it had the year earlier, while operating expenses fell 23% to P133.98 million from P173.94 million last year.

For the six-month period of its fiscal year ending in September, Roxas Holdings recorded P572.49 million in attributable net loss, bigger than the P300.07 million a year ago.

Its October-March revenues from contracts with customers totaled P1.89 billion, a 3.6% drop from the P1.96 billion recorded the previous year.

First-half operating expenses went down 9.9% to P305.86 million compared with P339.38 million a year earlier.

Roxas Holdings Chairman Pedro E. Roxas attributed the company’s performance to lower sugarcane yields amid an increase in the volume of milled cane, which cancelled out the operating gains and improvements.

He said the company felt the negative effects of an extended La Niña, which hampered the growth of sugar canes and affected farm productivity.

“The overall decline in cane quality (sugar content of canes) is a concern for the entire sugar industry, so much so, that the Philippine Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has intervened and suspended the United States quota for exports in early April,” Mr. Roxas said in the disclosure.

Roxas Holdings President and Chief Executive Officer Celso T. Dimarucut said unpredictable weather affected the company’s business operations during the previous two quarters.

He added that heavy rains caused a delay in the harvesting of canes, thus prolonging the company’s milling cycle.

Meanwhile, the company’s ethanol plant – San Carlos Bioenergy, Inc. – posted better production during the past two quarters, Mr. Dimarucut said.

“This was the result of a strategic shift in the sourcing of the company’s primary raw material, with the increase in milling from sugarcane syrup, whilst maintaining flexibility in the use of molasses, as prices soften,” he said in the disclosure.

“We are now fully focused on implementing solutions to address the factors causing volatility and higher costs in our industry and our group. Efforts are currently underway to regain our position in the market,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave