THERE is a growing demand for coconut products, particularly coconut milk powder. — BW FILE PHOTO

COCONUT PRODUCTS manufacturer Axelum Resources Corp. hopes to take advantage of the growing demand for coconut milk powder as more people turn to healthier dairy milk alternatives.

In a statement issued Thursday, Axelum said it plans to develop the market for coconut milk powder since it has one of the highest margins among its product offerings.

“In particular, the company is exploring the introduction and production of more gluten-free, dairy-free, and organic variants of existing product offerings,” Axelum President Henry J. Raperoga said in a statement.

Citing a study by the University of Asia & the Pacific, Axelum said that coconut milk powder exports have grown by 38% per year on volume and 60% per year on value. The Netherlands, Japan, the United States, France, and Australia are among the main markets for the products.

Axelum hopes to capitalize on this demand since it still has the capacity to produce more products.

“As of end 2018, our manufacturing plant is not fully utilized, which means there is room to scale up our manufacturing and distribution capabilities to address the growing demand of our clientele,” Mr. Raperoga said.

The company’s main production facility is located in Medina, Misamis Oriental. It also owns two manufacturing and distribution facilities in the US and Australia, and has distribution agents in key cities in the world.

To-date, Axelum is one of the major suppliers of coconut water firm Vita Coco, exporting 25 million liters of coconut water in 2018. It also supplies to several global brands such as The Hershey Co., Nestlé, Unilever, Ferrero, General Mills, Campbell’s, ConAgra Foods, among others.

Aside from coconut milk powder, Axelum also manufactures fat coconut, sweetened/toasted/roasted desiccated coconut, and coconut cooking oil.

Axelum has recently secured clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission for its P7.695-billion initial public offering consisting of up to 1.13 billion common shares priced at up to P6.81 apiece.

It is now awaiting final approval from the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. to proceed with the issuance. First Metro Investment Corp. has been tapped to be the issue manager, bookrunner, and lead underwriter for the transaction.

If approved, Axelum looks to list its shares on the local bourse by Oct. 4.

Proceeds from the offering will be used to finance Axelum’s target acquisitions that will allow it to further expand to the United States, Europe, Middle East, and major countries in Asia. — Arra B. Francia