Pryce sees P900-M profit this year

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PRYCE Corp., a listed company mainly engaged in the retail of cooking gas and property development, said its net income for 2016 year could hit P900 million, which would enable it to finally declare cash dividends after emerging from corporate rehabilitation.

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In an interview, company chairman Salvador Escano said that given its performance this year, Pryce might be able to book a net income of P900 million, which is 53 percent higher than last year’s net earnings of P586.3 million.

“Plus or minus 10 percent, P900 million,” Escano said.

Consequently, he said that by the second half of next year, the company may be able to declare cash dividends.

“That is in time because the shareholders have been suffering for a long time,” the top executive said, adding that Pryce would only have to make some adjustment for its P228 million capital deficit before declaring half of the balance as cash dividends.

Under the law, a corporation must declare dividends whether cash, property or stock when its surplus profits exceed 100 percent of its paid-in capital stock.

Pryce only emerged from corporate rehabilitation last year after suffering from the 1997 Asian financial crisis that led to its failure to meet its monetary obligations.

Meanwhile, Escano said earnings growth would mainly be bolstered by the company’s LPG business, Pryce Gases Inc., which produces and sells industrial gases and engages in the importation and distribution of LPG.

LPG accounts for 90 percent of the company’s business as Pryce holds a majority interest in Oro Oxygen Corp., the distributor of its LPG brand in Luzon and Metro Manila. The remainder of its operations is comprised of its memorial park, hotel and subdivision lot businesses.

He said Pryce has secured 12 percent of the country’s LPG market and its market share is expected to grow at a healthy pace of 20 to 25 percent per year.

He said the company intends to further drive its growth by expanding its facilities nationwide with a planned capital spending of at least P500 million annually.

“Our LPG business is growing very healthily at 20-25 percent per annum,” Escano said, saying that the LPG industry is projected to grow by at least 15 percent in the next five years.

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