Emperador says 'resilient' despite headwinds as global sales buoy business

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2020 12:25 PM

Emperador-owned Fundador bottling plant at Jerez dela Frontera in Spain. Handout

MANILA - Billionaire Andrew Tan's Emperador Inc said Thursday the business remained resilient in the first half of 2020 despite the Taal volcanic eruption, the imposition of liquor tax hike in the Philippines and the coronavirus pandemic. 

Equally "devastating" was the slump in air travel, which affected Duty Free sales, said chairman Andrew Tan said in a virtual stockholders' meeting. 

Despite the headwinds, first half earnings reached P3.3 billion, up 2 percent compared to last year, Emperador said. Its online presence has allowed them to connect to consumers, Tan said.

The liquor and spirits maker, which produces brands Fundador, Emperador and The Bar among others, said its brandy and whiskey businesses continue to grow in the international markets despite the hard lockdowns and liquor bans imposed.

"The year 2020 sees the liquor tax hike in the Philippines. The new taxation is a headwind for the domestic alcohol beverage industry. By early summer the COVID-19 pandemic caught the world by surprise…Our global presence continues to generate revenue and profit during the hard lockdown in the Philippines," Tan said. 

Metro Manila was placed under lockdown in March to curb the spread of COVID-19. The NCR remain under general community quarantine until Aug. 31.

Emperador brandy and whiskey products "performed strongly" in international markets including the United States, Sweden, Spain, Indo-China, United Kingdom, Russia and China during the first half of the year, the company said. 

However, Emperador "held back" at least 40 percent of its capital expenditure for the year, said president Winston Co.

"Considering the current environment we have held back our Capex by 40 percent this year….We will resume to normal level of investment when the world returns to normal," Co said.

Co added the resilience of the company showed during the pandemic is a testament of consumer confidence on trusted brands.

Emperador products are available in 100 countries and 6 continents, it said.