April 07, 2017 at 09:25 pm
Alena Mae S. Flores
Fruit grower and canner Del Monte Pacific Ltd. announced a 20-percent increase in pineapple production volume to 750,000 metric tons for its fiscal year ending April this year.
Del Monte Pacific chief operating office Luis Alejandro told reporters at the listing of the company’s US dollar denominated preference shares the firm had steadily expanded production from 450,000 metric tons 10 years ago.
Alejandro said about 600,000 metric tons of pineapple were used in the cannery and the balance as fresh produce.
“We continue to expand our production facilities. This (fiscal) year we will do about 750,000 tons of pineapple... and we will continue to expand that in the next five years,” he said.
“So our manufacturing facility in Bugo, we will expand production. In addition to that, we will also build a new facility... we are constructing a new tetra juice plant,” Alejandro said.
He said the company and its joint venture with Nice Fruit SL of Spain and investment company Ferville Ltd. was close to completing a cold storage plant in the Philippines.
Del Monte in 2014 said the partners agreed to establish a modern facility in the Philippines that would use Nice Fruit’s patented technology called Nice Frozen Dry.
The technology allows fruits, vegetables and produce to be picked at their optimal ripeness and frozen for up to three years, while preserving nutrients, structure, original properties and organoleptic characteristics.
“We should be ready for commercial start up with a month... for now those products will be exported to Asia Pacific,” Alejandro said about the new facility, which would produce 6,000 to 8,000 metric tons of finished products.
Del Monte, meanwhile, has successfully raised $250 million from the issuance of dollar-denominated preferred shares.
The shares were listed at the Philippine Stock Exchange Friday, the first with the local bourse.
Del Monte plans to use the proceeds from the offering to pay the outstanding bridge loan facility extended by BDO Unibank Inc.
The shares will come from the 36 million dollar-denominated preferred shares earlier approved for sale by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange.
The balance of 11 million shares will be placed under shelf registration to be issued within the next three years.
The issuance of the dollar-denominated preferred shares was in line with the company’s plan to convert a substantial amount of short- to medium-term loan into longer maturities to significantly improve Del Monte’s current liquidity ratio.