LT GROUP, Inc. reported record earnings of P23.12 billion in 2019, the highest since its re-initial public offering seven years ago.

In a statement yesterday, the holding firm of taipan Lucio C. Tan said its attributable net income last year was 43% higher from the P16.19 billion it recorded in 2018.

This is fueled by the robust growth in income across its businesses: P15.56 billion or 67% from its tobacco segment, P5.57 billion or 24% from its banking segment, P896 million or 4% from its property segment, P667 million or 3% from its spirits segment, and P398 million or 2% from its beverage segment. The remainder is the P251 million from LT Group’s stake in Victorias Milling Co., Inc.

Broken down, net income from the tobacco business grew 78% to P15.56 billion. This was traced to the price increase implemented in late August 2019 and the growth in market share of its premium Marlboro brand. It noted that volume dipped 3% last year.

Banking unit Philippine National Bank posted a net income of P9.94 billion under the pooling method. Core net income was up 61% to P9.51 billion, which excludes non-recurring gains from real and other properties acquired in 2018.

Earnings from property unit Eton Properties Philippines, Inc. reached P900 million, up 88% from the previous year. It focused on expanding its leasing portfolio, closing 2019 with 181,000 square meters of office space and 43,500 square meters of retail space.

The spirits business under Tanduay Distillers, Inc. saw a 26% drop in net income of P676 million, of which P667 million is attributable to the LT Group. The decline was attributed to the slightly lower margins from higher alcohol costs and interest expenses.

Earnings of beverage segment Asia Brewery, Inc. hit P398 million, 5% up from the previous year. It was driven by higher volumes of energy drinks, bottled water and soymilk sold last year.

Shares in LT Group at the stock exchange closed 95 centavos or 14.73% down to P5.50 each yesterday. — Denise A. Valdez