PROFITS of holding firm A. Brown Co., Inc. surged by more than five times to P479.6 million in the second quarter on the back of a one-time gain, the listed company said in its financial report.

A. Brown attributed the profits growth to the “gain on sale of available-for-sale investments due to the disposal of an investment in Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp.”

In March, One Taipan Holdings Corp. led by Henry Sy, Jr., the son and namesake of mall and banking tycoon Henry Sy, Sr., bought A. Brown unit Monte Oro, which held a 30% stake in transmission firm National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

The transaction allowed A. Brown to rake in P384.9 million in dividend income.

But combined sales of crude palm oil and property projects in the second quarter dropped to P39.93 million from P56.05 million in the previous year.

A. Brown has three realty projects: the Xavier Estates in Cagayan de Oro City that sold 27 lots in the second quarter from 32 lots for the same period last year; the 40-hectare Teakwood Hills Subdivision also in Cagayan de Oro City that is under construction; and the 12.39-hectare Valencia Estates in Bukidnon that sold three units in the second quarter from five in the previous year.

“The management is optimistic that sales will increase in 2010 due to steady global demand for Filipino labor. There is also an increasing demand from local professionals investing in affordable housing projects especially with the support from the local banks and the Pag-IBIG [fund] for more affordable housing loan rates,” A. Brown said.

The firm said it has 1,061.43 hectares of land for oil palm production and nursery operations.

Shares in A. Brown — which was incorporated in 1966 as Bendana, Brown, Pizarro & Associates, Inc. and merged with Brown Chemical Corp. in 1993, rose to P3.19 apiece on Friday from P3.16 on Thursday.

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