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URC nets P6.49B in 6 months ending March.

GOKONGWEI-led Universal Robina Corp. grew its net profit in the six-month period ending March by 4.3 percent year-on-year to P6.49 billion, driven mostly by the branded consumer food segment, especially the overseas business.

URC's net sales for the period beginning October 2014 to March 2015 - the first semester in its fiscal year - went up by 21.6 percent to P55.64 billion as the branded foods business was complemented by sugar and feeds.

In a press statement on Wednesday, URC said the Philippine branded consumer foods business increased sales by 15.7 percent year-on-year to P29.65 billion in the six-month period while international branded consumer foods recorded a 37.8 percent sales growth to P16.21 billion with the consolidation of Griffin's New Zealand results starting mid-November when it completed the acquisition of the leading Kiwi snackfood company.

On the other hand, sales of URC non-branded consumer foods group increased by 16.9 percent year-on-year for the six-month period due to increase in sales volume for sugar and feeds which in turn expanded by 61.1 percent and 19.6 percent, respectively.

Operating income was at P8.85 billion for the six-month period, 26.3 percent higher year-on-year as lower input prices - particularly of palm oil, creamer and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin - and additional operating leverage resulted in margin expansion for branded foods, URC reported.

But bottomline growth was slower than operating income as URC booked higher net finance cost, marked-to-market foreign exchange losses as well as equity share in net losses of joint ventures it started, namely: Calbee-URC, Inc. and Danone Universal Robina Beverages Inc.

URC is one Philippine company that is completely ready for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration. It's a seasoned global competitor, said fund manager Gus Cosio, president of First Metro Asset Management Inc.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:May 6, 2015
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