FOOD group subsidiary of listed conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) outlined plans to expand in 2023 as it expects more contributions from the segment in the coming years.

“We are continuously expanding not just in terms of our product portfolio but also in terms of the countries that we are present in,” said Tristan Roberto C. Aboitiz, the Pilmico group’s president and chief executive officer, during the Aboitiz group’s media briefing on Friday.

AEV’s local food business is led by Pilmico Foods Corp., which is into feeds and flour production, and Pilmico Animal Nutrition Corp., which operates hog and layer farms. Its international units include AEV International Pte. Ltd. and Pilmico International Pte. Ltd.

According to Mr. Aboitiz, the group topped off its newest breeder and nursery farm in Nueva Ecija which it expects to produce around 4.7 million pork meat per annum.

“We expect that the market hub from this farm will be available by the end of the second quarter of 2023,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Aboitiz said that the company plans to introduce new pet food products under its brands, namely: Maxime, Tommy, and Woofy, which are also available in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

“New pet food products such as treats and wet food options are already in the pipeline for 2023,” Mr. Aboitiz said.

“In the Philippines, our brands are growing in distribution pet stores as well as on e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada,” Mr. Aboitiz said.

Similarly, the company is planning to expand its feed segment through the roll out of new feed mills outside the country.

“It is important that we continue to grow our presence in the markets that we are in and we are looking to do this through capacity expansions in China and Vietnam,” he said.

The mills which will be located in Yunnan, China and Long An, Vietnam are set to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2023.

“[Although] volume remains minimal to date, they are growing at a healthy [pace] and we look forward to bigger contributions from the category in 2023 and beyond,” Mr. Aboitiz said.

“The coming years will be exciting for us in the food group as we look to further expand our business across the region,” he added.

On Friday, AEV reported a third-quarter core net income of P7 billion, up 20% year on year. Including one-off gains, its consolidated net income reached P9.6 billion, higher by 57% from the level a year ago.

The company registered P2.6 billion in non-recurring gains largely from foreign exchange gains, compared with P252 million in one-off gains a year ago.

Meanwhile, AEV’s year-to-date net income was 9% higher at P21.4 billion, while its core net income was 17% lower at P16.1 billion.

In the nine months through September, AEV’s food subsidiaries contributed P260 million in income, lower by 83% than the P1.5 billion in 2021, which the company attributed to foreign exchange loss and the weakening peso.

Shares in the company rose 0.35% or P0.20 to close at P57.20 each. — J.I. D. Tabile