Food Headlines

Back to profit daw! Jollibee writes off P1.6B in debts, books P1B financial gains to avoid embarrassment of reporting Q4 loss

Bilyonaryo Tony Tan Caktiong’s spin masters proudly declared that Jollibee Foods has “returned to profitability” in the fourth quarter of 2020 after drowning in three straight quarters of red ink.

But a closer look at Jollibee’s numbers will show that the country’s biggest fast food firm is better at window dressing than improving its COVID-stricken sales.

READ: Jollibee lost P1B a month in 2020, shuts down 486 stores

“JFC’s bottomline would not have turned positive without two key below the line items. Booked in other income were P1.6 billion in liabilities written off; and unrealized gain on financial instruments amounting to P1 billion,” said Abacus Securities in its report.

These two items combined are bigger than the P2.05 billion profits declared by Jollibee in its press release issued on February 16.

Without these non-recurring items that have nothing to do with the fast food business, Jollibee would have been buried deeper in losses which totaled P13.54 billion from January to September 2020.

Abacus noted that during Jollibee’s analyst briefing, its officials were “guarded” because same store sales growth has plummeted 29.5 percent year-on-year.

“It will be difficult for JFC to meet its own guidance matching its 2019 net income (P6.4 billion) this year and market consensus is that it won’t happen until 2023,” said Abacus.

Abacus said Jollibee was unlikely to benefit from the consumer shift to online food delivery because most of its Filipino customers were in the C and D markets “who are less predisposed, financially and technologically, to use Grabfood or Food Panda.

No wonder window dressing is life for Jollibee in the time of pandemic.

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