March 02, 2021 at 07:50 pm
Jenniffer B. Austria
Food manufacturer Universal Robina Corp. said Tuesday net income grew 15 percent in 2020 on higher operating income, reduced debt and interest expenses and lower foreign exchange losses.
URC said in a disclosure to the stock exchange net income in 2020 reached P11.6 billion, up from P10.1 billion in 2019.
Net sales slowed by 1 percent in 2020 to P133.1 billion as the pandemic affected trading conditions and consumer sentiment were markedly affected, resulting in reduced sales of several snack food and beverage products.
The company said that despite these challenges, it managed to gain significant market share and performed ahead of competition.
“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,” URC president and chief executive Irwin Lee said.
“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,” Lee said.
URC’s operating income went up by 7 percent last year to P16 billion, with improved margins from 2019. This was driven by better cost management and favorable input prices, which offset brand building investments and 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 the growth of snacks, noodles and other filler type categories offset the decline of out-of-home consumption categories such as ready-to-drink beverages and candies.
International revenues went down by 5 percent to P41.2 billion in peso terms, but this was flat in local currency basis.
The growth in Oceania offset the slower recovery of other ASEAN markets.
Meanwhile, the combined sales of agro-industrial and commodities businesses amounted P29.6 billion, up 7 percent from 2019.
The commodities foods group posted a strong growth of 21 percent, with sugar and renewables growing 33 percent. URC said the recent acquisition of Central Azucarera de La Carlota and Roxol Bioenergy Corp. from Roxas Holdings, Inc. contributed to the growth.
The agro-industrial group’s sales decreased 10 percent because of the downsizing of hog farming operations.