By James A. Loyola
Universal Robina Corporation, the food and beverage unit of the Gokongwei group, reported a 3 percent growth in net income to P3.1 billion in the first quarter of the year.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the firm said earnings growth was driven by the positive operating income with offsets coming from lower foreign exchange gain and higher finance cost.
URC posted net sales of P33.3 billion, a 7 percent increase versus the first quarter last year, driven by its businesses in the Philippines.
Branded Consumer Foods (BCF): Sales of domestic and international branded consumer foods grew by 5 percent to P25.7 billion.
Domestic revenues for the quarter increased by 11 percent to P15.6 billion driven by the good performance of all categories, with Coffee pivoting back to growth after three years of decline.
Internationally, sales declined by 3 percent in peso terms to P10.2 billion, driven by foreign exchange devaluation in Australia and New Zealand ranging from 8 to 10 percent.
Agro-Industrial and Commodities sales amounted to P7.2 billion, a 16 percent increase versus last year, while operating income remains robust at P1.4 billion, a 17 percent increase versus last year.
“We are very pleased with the results especially the stronger top line momentum coming from our businesses in the Philippines,” said URC President Irwin Lee.
He noted that, “while the environment continues to be very challenging, the transformation plans we have set in place have started to gain traction…We also expect to hold or slightly improve our operating margins for the year.”
URC had earlier announced its “Purposeful Transformation” with the aim of formally adopting an Environment Social and Governance (ESG) program.
“To support this, we have embedded Sustainability as one of our key strategic thrust anchored on our People and Planet Friendly Culture strategy,” said Lee.
He added that, “we have identified key material impacts we can target in the Natural Resources, People, Products, Supply Chain, and Economic areas. After months of baselining, we have officially announced our Sustainability targets and commitments for the first three areas which are aligned to the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.”