Cosco Capital’s earnings get a boost from Liquigaz sale

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COSCO Capital, Inc. registered a 273% increase in attributable profit for the first half of 2019, boosted by sale of its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the listed holding firm of tycoon Lucio L. Co said net income attributable to the parent rose to P9.88 billion in the January to June period. This includes a one-time gain from its divestment in Liquigaz Philippines Corp.

Cosco signed in October last year a share purchase agreement for the sale of all its shares in Liquigaz to Fernwood Holdings, Inc., in a bid to increase financial flexibility.

Excluding the sale of Liquigaz, core attributable net income increased by 8.6% to P2.67 billion. Revenues were flat at P76.72 billion.

The company did not provide second- quarter figures.

The grocery retailing business through Puregold Price Club, Inc. and S&R Membership Shopping Club, accounted for 54% of profit, followed by the commercial real estate segment, liquor distribution unit, and specialty retailing segment at 23%, 17%, and 2%, respectively.

Consolidated income from the grocery retail segment slipped 4.8% to P2.82 billion, even as consolidated revenues increased 11.3% to P71.1 billion. Without the one-time gain from the sale of its equity investment in Lawson convenience stores, core net income rose 8.4%.

Puregold booked same-store sales growth (SSSG) of 6.2% for the first half, while S&R’s stood at 9.3%.

“Our SSSG in the first half of 2019 is driven by higher consumer spending fueled both by minimum wage inflation in 2018 and easing inflation in 2019,” Puregold said in a separate statement.

The company opened 12 new stores during the semester, as well as one S&R Warehouse Club, bringing its total network to 419 stores.

Net income from the liquor distribution business grew 20.8% to P457 million. Revenues added 21% to P4.5 billion, following a 31% uptick in volume of cases sold mostly from its Alfonso Light Brandy and Alfonso Brandy brands.

Earnings from the commercial real estate segment rose by 11.4% to P637 million on the back of a 4.6% increase in revenues to P2.7 billion.

Office Warehouse, Inc., which makes up the specialty retailing business, delivered a 67% net income increase to P54 million. Revenues also climbed 20.9% to P1.22 billion, driven by SSSG of over 15% from its network of 91 stores.

Shares in Cosco fell 1.62% or 11 centavos to close at P6.66 apiece at the stock exchange on Tuesday, while shares in Puregold shed 0.56% or 25 centavos to P44.50 each. — Arra B. Francia