Puregold to hike capital to P5B

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

PUREGOLD PRICE Club, Inc. is hiking its war chest to prepare itself for future acquisition opportunities.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday, the listed supermarket operator said its board of directors has approved to increase its authorized capital stock to P5 billion, consisting of five billion shares with a par value of P1 each, from P3 billion.

The Lucio L. Co-led firm will present the amendment to its stockholders for approval.

“The company is just getting ready if ever there are good opportunities, for example acquisitions in the future,” Puregold Vice-President for Investors Relations John Marson T. Hao said in a text message.

Puregold earlier raised P4.69 billion through a top-up share placement last January in order to finance its capital expenditures and potential acquisitions for the year. The company sold 104 million common shares at P45 each — or about 3.8% of the company’s total issued and outstanding stock — during the transaction.

“We are very near our maximum already for authorized capital,” Mr. Hao explained, adding that there are still no plans for equity capital raising.

Puregold plans to open a total of 25 new stores this year. The aggressive expansion is in line with the company’s target of opening 25 stores annually over the past few years, in a bid to expand its footprint to areas outside Metro Manila.

The company will also open four new S&R Membership warehouse stores. Two of the S&R stores will be located outside Metro Manila, while there will be one each inside the metro and Southern Luzon. Two more are scheduled to open in 2020.

As of end-September 2018, the company had a total of 397 stores nationwide, consisting of 345 Puregold stores, 16 S&R membership shopping warehouses, and 36 S&R New York Style Outlets.

The company previously acquired existing grocery chains to support its expansion, including the NE Bodega supermarket in Nueva Ecija, Luzon-based supermarket chain Budgetlane, and retailer B&W in Roxas City in Capiz.

Puregold’s net income attributable to the parent grew by 18% to P4.62 billion in the first nine months of 2018, driven by a 14% uptick in gross revenues to P102.64 billion. System-wide sales also firmed up by 14% to P99.82 billion in the same period.

The company is seen to benefit from strong consumer spending given the passage of the tax reform law last year and lower inflation.

Shares in Puregold jumped 1.46% or 70 centavos to close at P48.70 each at the stock exchange on Thursday.