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URC income up 15% in 2020

Listed Universal Robina Corp. (URC) reported on Tuesday an improved net income of P11.6 billion in 2020 on higher operating earnings, lower debt and interest expenses, and reduced foreign-exchange losses.

The food-and-beverage subsidiary of Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings Inc. said in a disclosure that the amount was a 15-percent increase from the year-earlier figure, which it put at P9.8 billion in an April 2020 filing.

Operating income jumped by 7 percent to P16 billion, which URC said 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.”

Net sales reached P133.1 billion last year, down 1 percent on a reported peso basis and up 1 percent on a constant currency basis.

Sales of the company’s local and international branded consumer food items hit P103.6 million.

Domestic revenues ended flat at P61.2 billion as the growth in snacks, noodles and other filler-type categories offset the decline in out-of-home consumption categories, like ready-to-drink beverages and candies.

International revenues slipped by 5 percent year-on-year to P41.2 billion when converted to pesos, but flat on a local currency basis. Growth in the Oceania market offset the slower pace of recovery in the rest of Southeast Asian markets.

Sales of URC’s agro-industrial and commodities segments climbed by 7 percent year-on-year to P29.6 billion. Sales of its commodities foods group rose by 21 percent as sugar and renewables soared by 33 percent, which it attributed to its acquisition of Central Azucarera de La Carlota and Roxol Bioenergy Corp. from Roxas Holdings Inc.

But sales of the agro-industrial group lost 10 percent due to the downsizing of its hog-farming operations.

Irwin Lee, URC president and chief executive officer, said in the disclosure the “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,” he added.

URC shares increased by P3.60 or 2.79 percent to finish at P132.70 apiece on Tuesday.

Article and Photo originally posted by Manila Times last March 3, 2021 12:00am and written by Faye Almazan.