URC income up 38% despite sluggish sales


Universal Robina Corp. (URC), the food group of the Gokongweis, reported that its profit in January to September rose 38 percent to P11.2 billion from last year’s P8.11 billion, despite sluggish sales.

Sales for the period reached P102.6 billion, up 3 percent from P99.61 billion last year.

“Operating income continues to be challenged by higher input costs and production inefficiencies brought about by Covid-related supply disruptions in several markets. However, higher pricing and cost savings initiatives helped reduce impact to margins,” the company said.

Sales of domestic and international branded consumer foods reached P78.3 billion, up by a mere 1 percent from last year.

“Domestic revenues declined 5 percent versus last year to close at P44.2 billion, as 2020 included a higher base from pantry-loading and consumer demand in the Philippines remain depressed,” it said.

The branded consumer business’ international division meanwhile posted revenues of P32.9 billion, up 9 percent, with Indo-China and Indonesia leading the growth.

Sales of the agro-industrial and commodities unit, meanwhile, hit P24.2 billion, up 9 percent from last year, driven by the commodity food group’s strong performance.

The company said sales of agro-industrial alone were still down 7 percent, as the strategic downsizing of hog farms concluded in mid-2020.

Its pet food business continues to grow, offsetting lower volumes of other animal feeds, according to the company.

“We find ourselves in unprecedented times, challenged on all fronts, with muted market conditions and immense cost pressures. However, we continue to meet these challenges head-on, backed by strong brands that provide value to our consumers, and the strength and resilience of our employees and partners,” said Irwin Lee, URC president.

“As the vaccination rollout across the region speeds up, it is only a matter of time before consumer sentiment improves and we resume our strong growth trajectory.”

The company said it expects to realize some $250 million from the sale of its Oceania snacks business to its partner Intersnack Group, which closed October 29, 2021.

The company announced the sale of its New Zealand and Australia business in August.

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