URC earnings rose 15% to P11.6 billion last year

Published March 2, 2021, 4:20 PM

by James A. Loyola

Universal Robina Corporation (URC) reported a 15 percent improvement in net income to P11.6 billion last year, driven by growth in operating income, lower debt and interest expenses, and lower foreign exchange losses.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the firm said its net sales for the year reached P133.1 billion, a 1 percent decline versus 2019 on a reported-peso basis but up 1 percent on a constant currency basis.

URC logo Credit: www2.urc.com.ph / MANILA BULLETIN

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, trading conditions and consumer sentiment were markedly affected, with market contractions seen in several snack food and beverage categories the company competes in.

However, despite these challenges, URC said it has gained significant market share and performed ahead of competition.

While holding ground in sales, operating income grew by 7 percent to end at P16.0 billion, with improved margins versus 2019.

This was driven by better cost management and favorable input prices, which offset brand building investments as well as COVID-19 related expenses to safeguard employees and support continuing operations.

Sales of domestic and international branded consumer foods amounted to P103.6 billion.

Domestic revenues were flat at P61.2 billion, as growth of Snacks, Noodles and other filler type categories were able to offset the decline of out-of-home consumption categories such as ready-to-drink beverages and Candies. Despite this, URC was able to increase its market share in key categories. 

International revenues hit P41.2 billion, 5 percent lower versus last year in peso terms, but flat in local currency basis. Growth in Oceania was able to offset the slower recovery of other ASEAN markets.

Sales of Agro-Industrial & Commodities businesses reached P29.6 billion, a 7 percent increase versus last year as the Commodities Foods Group posted strong growth of 21 percent, with Sugar & Renewables (SURE) growing 33 percent.

Agro-Industrial Group’s sales declined by 10 percent, due to the downsizing of its hog farming operations.

“The best response to the challenges we face with this crisis is to push forward, not to pull back. We are focused on better serving our consumers, our customers, and our communities,” said URC President Irwin Lee.

He added that,“Consumption of our products is not likely to dissipate; in fact, the relevance of our categories in consumers’ lives potentially increases as we adjust to changing consumer and shopper trends. As we look to the future and the new normal, we remain well-positioned for the long term to delight everyone with good food choices.”