AXELUM Resources Corp. posted a 20.4% improvement in its net income for the first quarter to P145.60 million on the back of stronger sales.

In a regulatory filing on Monday, the listed coconut manufacturer and exporter said its net income for the January-to-March period is an improvement from the P120.94-million profit it had in the similar period last year.

Axelum said its net sales for the quarter rose 22.5% to P1.47 billion compared to P1.20 billion the year earlier after posting growth in core product segments.

The company added that its operating income climbed 62.4% to P170.22 million from P104.80 million due to expanded margins.

“In terms of volumes, desiccated coconut grew 19% while sweetened coconut, coconut milk powder and coconut water, increased 19%, 15% and 10%, respectively. Gross margin improved to 25% from 21% in spite of escalating raw material prices and shipping costs,” the company said.

“For coconut water, Axelum saw delivered volumes climb 10% owing to enhanced nut processing activities and higher water collection,” it added.

Further, Axelum said its e-commerce business incurred a 104% jump in terms of sales during the period.

Axelum currently sells products under the Fiesta Tropicale brand on e-commerce platform Amazon USA. On May 3, the company also announced its entry into the local e-commerce segment with the launch of its own online coconut store in Shopee and Lazada.

“Global demand for desiccated coconut and sweetened coconut particularly in the United States, stayed resilient attributing to the sharp recovery of the food manufacturing, food service and retail sectors,” the company said.

Henry J. Raperoga, Axelum president and chief operating officer, said the company’s performance is off to a strong start for the year.

“Moving forward, we expect to benefit from continuing investments in capacity upgrades, plant modernization and pandemic response initiatives. These strategies will enable us to withstand prolonged uncertainties and sustain our growth momentum in the long term,” Mr. Raperoga was quoted as saying.

According to Axelum, it was recently granted a four-year tax holiday for its new agglomerated spray-dryer which began commercial production in April. The said equipment is set to double the production capacity of the company’s coconut milk powder segment.

The company added that it has a pending application for qualified tax incentives as a pioneer producer of pressed coconut water in the country.

On Monday, shares of Axelum at the stock exchange climbed 7.37% or 21 centavos to close at P3.06 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave