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URC sells out 60% of Oceania unit to German food company

Food manufacturer Universal Robina Corp. is exiting the Oceania snack food market with the sale of its remaining 60-percent stake in URC Oceania to German-based snack food maker Intersnack Group for an undisclosed amount.

URC Oceania owns Snack Brands Australia, the country’s second largest salty snacks player and Griffin’s, New Zealand’s leading biscuit and snack food company.

URC said in a disclosure to the stock exchange it signed an agreement to sell its remaining shares in its consolidated business in Australia and New Zealand to joint venture partner Intersnack Group.

Intersnack Group, one of the leading manufacturers of savory snacks in Europe, acquired a 40-percent interest in URC Oceania in 2019. URC said it sold 40 percent of its Oceania business in 2019 to Intersnack Group to monetize some of the synergies it generated from early investments in Australia and New Zealand.

URC acquired 100 percent of NZ Snack Food Holdings Limited, the holding company of Griffin’s Foods Limited for NZ$700 million in 2014. In 2016, URC through URC International Company Limited, bought 100 percent of Snack Brands Australia for AU$600 million.

Snack Brands Australia is one of Australia’s leading salty snack manufacturers with a wide portfolio of strong local brands while Griffin‘s is New Zealand’s largest biscuit manufacturer.

“The acquisitions of Griffin’s Foods and Snack Brands Australia were URC’s biggest forays outside of Asia. Over the past seven years, we have invested in delivering significant operational improvements and value creation programs. We are pleased to be handing full stewardship of these strong businesses to our partner Intersnack, while we continue to focus on other growth segments and geographies across developing markets,” URC president and chief executive Irwin Lee said.

URC and Intersnack Group intend to close the deal upon obtaining necessary approvals from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.

URC said first-half net income jumped 45.7 percent to P8.05 billion from P5.52 billion in the same period last year, driven by lower finance costs and net foreign exchange losses.

Consolidated revenues in the first half rose 1.7 percent to P68.52 billion, as the strong sales from international market was tempered by the decline in sales from the domestic market.

The Philippine business posted a 7.1-percent decrease in net sales to P29.16 billion from P31.381 billion, which was considered a high base, fueled by pantry stock up with Taal eruption and the start of pandemic shifting household spending to pantry essentials.

International operations reported a 13.4-percent increase in net sales to P21.55 billion.

Vietnam’s business grew by 51.3 percent, led by resurgence in beverage sales while Thailand’s business recovered with 10.7-percent sales growth.

Topics: Universal Robina Corp. , URC , Oceania , Intersnack Group
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