Pryce income hits P1.4B in 2018 as revenues jump 11%

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PRYCE CORP. reported a 12.4% increase in consolidated net income in 2018 to P1.405 billion, from P1.25 billion after posting double-digit growth in revenues.

“The consolidated revenue growth of 11%, from P9.23 billion in 2017 to P10.23 billion in 2018, drove the increase in net income,” the company told the stock exchange on Wednesday.

Pryce said its unaudited profit was “within the company’s target for (the) year.”

Of last year’s revenue growth, 94% came from the sale of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), while the remaining 6% came from industrial gases, real estate and pharmaceutical products.

Retail sales volume of LPG, which is used primarily for household cooking, grew by 3.5% to 196,229 metric tons (MT) last year from 189,562 MT a year earlier.

LPG sales in Luzon rose by 3.6% to 112,334 MT from 108,383 MT, while the combined retail sales in Visayas and Mindanao increased by 3.3% to 83,895 MT from 81,179 MT previously.

Contract prices for LPG in 2018 was at an average of $540.04 per MT, up 9.9% from $491.42 per MT a year earlier.

Pryce said income from operations rose by 16% to P1.60 billion, “driven by revenue growth and efficient management of operating expenses.”

Last year, the company completed the construction of 12 new refilling plants nationwide, four in Luzon, one in Visayas and seven in Mindanao, adding a total of 577 MT to its total storage capacity. The expansion also brought its products closer to the market.

This year, Pryce said it would continue expanding in its marine-fed terminals and refilling plants “to further increase its storage capacities and bring the company’s LPG products much closer to the intended markets.”

Pryce said it remained positive that the continued implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, along with the company’s expansion projects, would boost LPG volume.

For this year, Pryce set a full-year net income target of P1.75 billion, plus or minus 10%.

On June 7, 2018 and Dec. 14, 2018, the company declared payment of cash dividends at P0.12 per share out of its unrestricted retained earnings.

“Sometime after the first half of 2020, when the company’s various expansions in its LPG business shall have been completed, [Pryce] intends to adhere to a previously adopted policy wherein 50% of the prior year’s consolidated net income after tax will be distributed in cash to the shareholders as dividends,” the company said.

On Wednesday, shares in Pryce rose by 1.5% to close at P6.10 each. — Victor V. Saulon