By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
ROXAS and Company, Inc. (RCI) expects its business ventures to stabilize in 2018, banking on its property projects and coconut processing plant to drive growth in the coming years.
“The plan for this year is stabilize. What we did last year was implement, complete projects, get them started. This year is stabilize… The team’s working well together, they’re doing what they can to improve operations,” RCI President and Chief Executive Officer Fernando L. Gaspar told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Makati City on Wednesday.
In October 2017, the listed holding firm started operations of its coconut processing plant located on a 21,945-square meter (sq.m.) land in Tupi, South Cotabato. The facility has the capacity to process 300 metric tons of raw coconut per day to be used for the production of coconut milk, coconut cream, virgin coconut oil, and coconut water concentrate, all of which are for export.
Mr. Gaspar expects the coconut business to be a steady source of revenues for the company moving forward, with the possibility of expanding the plant’s capacity in 2020.
“In the markets we are dealing with, the environment is good. The coconut (business), we are seeing that there is the possibility to deal locally, but the export market is (doing well),” Mr. Gaspar said.
For the real estate business, the RCI chief said sales of rooms from its Anya Resorts project in Tagaytay are picking up. Anya Resorts is the company’s tourism estate development brand.
At Anya Resorts, RCI sells some of its room inventory to investors with the option of putting it up for rent, which will then be managed by the company under a revenue-sharing scheme.
Mr. Gaspar said they are planning to add more rooms under the Anya Resorts brand due to the strong demand for the product.
The company is also crafting the next expansion phase for Go Hotels, the homegrown hotel brand of the Gokongwei family. A unit of RCI’s property arm, Roxaco Land Corp., has partnered with Robinsons Land Corp. for the Go Hotel expansion.
There are currently five Go Hotels under RCI’s portfolio, with plans to add 15 more in the future.
“In the case of Go hotels, we’re already looking at what places we can put the next properties cause our six to seven-year plan is to have 20 all in all. We have five now so we’re beginning to look where will be the next one,” Mr. Gaspar said.
For the property segment’s further expansion, Mr. Gaspar noted that RCI has a land bank of around 2,500 hectares in Nasugbu, Batangas. However, 2,300 hectares of this is covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), preventing the firm to develop the land.
Mr. Gaspar said they will comply with the provisions under CARP and develop the remaining land.
“Beyond that, we have in Busuanga, Palawan. (The land is) not ours but we are working with land owners to develop that into another Anya. (In the process of) planning, yes. Implementing, we need to see,” he said.
Mr. Gaspar said they expect this year’s profit to improve.
RCI booked a net loss attributable to the parent of P33.6 million in the first three months of 2018, from an attributable profit of P15.5 million a year ago. This came amid a 27% increase in revenues to P137 million.
Shares in RCI went up 18 centavos or 8.45% to close at P2.31 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday.