Food manufacturer Universal Robina Corp. said Friday net income attributable to parent equity holder increased 7.2 percent in the first nine months to P7.5 billion from P7 billion in the same period last year, driven by higher operating income, lower debt and interest expense and reduced foreign exchange losses.
URC said in a disclosure to the stock exchange nine-month consolidated sales rose 2 percent to P99.8 billion from a year ago.
“The pandemic has deteriorated trading conditions and resulted in market contractions in several snack food and beverage categories the company competes in. Despite these challenges, URC has gained significant market shares and performed ahead of the market,” the company said.
Operating income increased 8 percent to P11.9 billion on better cost management and favorable input prices, offsetting investments in brand building and close to P300 million of COVID-related expenses.
URC president and chief executive Irwin Lee said the business environment continued to pose severe challenges to the group’s overall business.
Lee said the weaker consumer sentiment and slowing retail sales in the third quarter, plus sluggish macroeconomic fundamentals, were weighing on the path to market recovery.
“Despite these challenges, we remain focused on operational excellence, business transformation and investing in building stronger brands and innovation to fuel growth. This focus is helping us perform ahead of market trends,” Lee said.
Total sales from the branded consumer foods in the first nine months amounted to P77.4 billion, down 2.4 percent from a year ago. Domestic sales were nearly flat at P46.5 billion as the growth in snacks, bakery, chocolates, noodles and coffee were offset by declines in ready-to-drink beverages and candies.
International sales slowed by 6.5 percent to P30 billion. Vietnam sales dropped 18.8 percent on reduced out-of-home consumption while Thailand sales decreased by 4.1 percent because of soft domestic consumption, especially in large format stores.
Oceania sales grew by 8.3 percent on better product supply and availability in Australia and the good momentum in biscuits and better trade execution in New Zealand.
Sales from agro-industrial and commodities group improved by 9 percent to P22.3 billion while the commodities foods group registered 25-percent hike in sales to P13 billion.
URC said third-quarter net income climbed 5.5 percent to P1.9 billion even as revenues contracted by 1.2 percent to P32.3 billion.
URC completed the acquisition of Central Azucarera de La Carlota and Roxol Bioenergy Corp. from Roxas Holdings Inc. for P4.9 billion in September.