JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. posted P2.05 billion in attributable net income in the fourth quarter of 2020, down 34.5% from a year earlier, but turning around from the losses incurred in the previous three quarters.

Still, Jollibee ended 2020 with a net loss of P11.5 billion, a reversal of a restated P7.3-billion net income in 2019.

The restated 2019 net attributable income reflects the company’s acquisition of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which allowed it to gain P4.4 billion from the transaction.

Jollibee posted P7.1 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in the fourth quarter.

Fourth-quarter revenues, meanwhile, slowed by nearly 30% to P36.7 billion compared with P52.42 billion in the same period in the previous year.

Jollibee said the decline was due to the permanent halt of operations of four commissaries and 486 stores, and a low sales per outlet because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In May 2020, it launched its business transformation program, which focused on the rationalization of the company’s operations as it adjusted to the global pandemic. The program was allotted P7 billion in June 2020, and have since used up 96% or P6.7 billion by the end of the year.

The program reorganized 262 of its stores. Jollibee is now reopening many of its stores, which temporarily closed.

As of Dec. 31, up to 96% of the company’s shops had begun operating again. All of these have generated profit in the fourth quarter.

In the Philippines, 98% of shops are operating. Sales recorded a decline of 35.2% from the 45.6% slowdown recorded in the third quarter.

All outlets in China have since reopened, where store sales grew by 0.2% after declining by 7.7% in the previous quarter.

Stores in North America have reopened, where 94% of Jollibee shops have resumed businesses. Without taking into account sales from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, sales in the region grew by 3.5% from a decline of 6.6% in the third quarter.

“Our strong profit recovery shows our organization’s capability to execute complex and massive undertaking in a very short time like the Business Transformation. It was a very difficult and painful program, but the right thing to do for the long-term good of the business and the organization,” Jollibee Chief Executive Officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said in a statement.

The company is keeping a positive outlook for the rest of this year.

“We look forward to sustained recovery of the business as the world gradually returns to normalcy, aided by the introduction of new vaccines,” Mr. Tanmantiong said.

The official also said that the company is planning to open over 400 new stores, majority of which will be in North America, Vietnam, and China to make up for the losses incurred in 2020.

“In 2021 and the years ahead, [Jollibee’s] sales and profit growth will be driven by its international business. We believe that out of this pandemic, we will emerge as a stronger business and organization,” Mr. Tanmantiong added.

Jollibee shares at the exchange on Monday rose by 0.80 points or 0.45% to close at P179.50 apiece. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte