LISTED D&L Industries, Inc. said it saw a 4% increase in its first-quarter net income to P618 million from P594 million last year, driven by higher sales and better performance of its Batangas plant.

Sales in the first quarter improved by 5% to P8.83 billion from P8.41 billion in 2023, driven by the almost breakeven performance of the company’s Batangas plant, D&L Industries said in a statement to the stock exchange on Wednesday.

The Batangas plant recorded a P16-million net loss for the period from a loss of P315 million net loss during the start of its commercial operations in the third quarter last year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization rose by 17% to P1.25 billion.

The performance of the Batangas plant may breakeven by the second half due to the steady ramp-up of its operations, D&L Industries President and Chief Executive Officer Alvin D. Lao said during a briefing.

The Batangas plant has already completed several orders for local and export customers. Several audit and certification processes are ongoing to onboard more customers, according to the company.

“While it is still early days, the Batangas plant has already shown remarkable progress with respect to the ramp-up of its operations as well as in surpassing its initial commitments with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. With the current run rate, it is possible that we may see breakeven sooner-than-expected,” Mr. Lao said.

Volume of the company’s high-margin specialty products rose by 13% in the first quarter, led by better consumer demand, improving mix within the various categories, and relatively less volatile commodity price movements.

Revenue from exports surged by 39%, bringing the export contribution to total sales to 32% for the period.

Across the company’s business segments, the food ingredients division saw a 24% jump in earnings, led by a 35% increase in volume.

Chemrez Technologies, Inc. logged a 9% drop in income, which is expected to gradually improve with new capacity from the Batangas plant.

The specialty plastics division recorded a 76% increase in earnings as total volume grew by 10%, led by its engineered polymers and colorants and additives subsegments.

Consumer products saw a 60% drop in earnings due to high inflation, weak consumer sentiment, and lower volumes.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lao said that D&L Industries is maintaining its target of double-digit growth in earnings this year.

“Over the longer-term, we have a lot of confidence that the investments that we have made over the past years will pave the way for higher and more sustainable profit growth,” he said.

“Meanwhile, we continue to closely watch macro factors which can potentially dampen business sentiment such as the lingering effects of inflation, depreciating peso, and even the excessive heat that may impact consumer spending patterns,” he added.

On Wednesday, D&L Industries shares gained by 0.65% or four centavos to P6.23 each. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave