D&L targeting 2016 exports growth of 20%

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D&L Industries Inc. is beefing up its export business by a fifth this year as part of efforts to leave behind Manila port congestion that stunted growth in 2015.

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The company is the largest specialty plastics, food ingredients and oleochemicals company in the Philippines.

D&L Executive Vice President and Chief Finance Officer Alvin Lao on Thursday told reporters that growing by 20 percent this year was achievable with the port congestion no longer an issue.

“We are coming from a low base in 2015, when there was congestion at the Port of Manila. At that time, our growth was even negative. But for this year, we are confident we are going to grow by at least 20 percent,” Lao said.

Exports, which account for 17 percent of D&L’s revenue, have been growing steadily.

Except for last year when shipments were delayed and sometimes stopped due to the port congestion, D&L’s export business has been growing at 20 percent for five consecutive years.

“Growth this year should be much faster,” Lao noted.

D&L exports specialty food ingredients, plastics for automotive wire harnesses, oleochemicals or chemicals using vegetable oil as the main ingredient.

Its top export product is medium-chain triglycerides derived from coconut oil (coco MCT) produced by subsidiary Chemrez Technologies. It is fast gaining recognition as a health and wellness product and brain food supplement to help treat Alzheimer’s disease.

D&L ships mainly to Asean countries. Its coco MCT and biodegradable plastics ingredients are also exported to Europe and the US.

Chemrez is exploring new ways to grow its oleochemicals business in line with current trends in sustainability, and health and wellness.

It is leveraging on innovative product development to increase the value of exports through niche coconut oil applications.

In the long run, Lao said the company was focusing on expanding collaborations with global players in various industries, which include wire harness and biopolymers, to develop a stronger pipeline with higher margins and growth opportunities.

“It is our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to grow our exports to about half of our total revenues,” Lao said, adding that this could be achieved in 10 years.

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