D&L slates P5-B maiden bond offering

Published March 16, 2021, 5:32 PM

by James A. Loyola

D&L Industries Inc., the country’s largest specialty foods ingredients, plastics and oleochemicals firm, is planning to raise up to P5 billion from its first bond offering to fund its P8 billion capacity expansion program.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, D&L said it has secured approval from its Board of Firectors for a maiden bond offering to take place this year.

The company is looking to issue P3 billion up to P5 billion of bonds with a tenure of 3 to 5 years. Final details of the issuance, including interest rates, will be finalized together with the company’s underwriters.

“With interest rates still remaining low, we believe it’s an opportune time to tap the debt market. Our maiden bond offering will be a useful financial exercise for the company and will allow flexibility for future opportunities we can potentially take advantage of,” said D&L President and CEO Alvin Lao. 

D&L President and CEO Alvin D. Lao

He noted that, “With earnings growing by 8 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, which likely signifies the inflection point in earnings growth, we believe that the worst is over and we are in a very good position to further recover as the economy continues to reopen.”

Lao said “The resiliency that the company showed last year highlights the relevant nature of our businesses’ catering to basic industries, and our operational adeptness as even in the worst of times, even at the peak of the lockdown, we never saw our net income turn negative.”

“We believe that the future growth prospects of the business remain strong, and we look forward to our new plant coming online by the end of the year,” he added. 

The proceeds from the bond issuance will primarily be used to finance the company’s expansion plans in Batangas which involves a total estimated capex of P8 billion and the corresponding working capital requirements.

Construction started in late 2018 and completion is expected by the end of the year. Remaining capex to be deployed for the project is about P4 billion. 

Once completed, the new plant will be instrumental to the company’s future growth, in line with plans to develop more high value-added coconut-based products and penetrate new international markets.

It will mainly cater to D&L’s growing export business in the food and oleochemicals segment. It will add the capability to manufacture downstream packaging, thus allowing the company to capture a bigger part of the production chain.

For instance, while the company primarily sells raw materials to customers in bulk, the new plants will allow it to “pack at source.”

This means that D&L will have the ability to process the raw materials and package them closer to finished consumer-facing products.

This will enable D&L to move a step closer to its customers by providing customized solutions and simplifying their supply chain, which is of high importance given global logistical challenges and concerns. 

As of end-December 2020, the company remained lightly-geared with net gearing at 17 percent and interest cover at 18 times. Average cost of debts, which were all short-term, stood at 3.53 percent.

Post bond offering, the company estimates its net gearing and interest cover to reach 42 percent and 11 times, respectively.

 
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