URC
In this undated photo, snack maker Universal Robina Corp. (URC) donates products to several hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
URC/Released
Universal Robina profits surge 76% in second quarter
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - August 3, 2020 - 5:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — Earnings of Universal Robina Corp. jumped by over 70% in the second quarter despite the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, sending the snack maker's shares up on Monday that bucked a bearish sentiment in the local stock market.

In a disclosure to the local bourse, the Gokongwei-led firm said its net income from April to June stood at P3.8 billion, soaring 76% year-on-year "on the back of strong operating performance and foreign exchange gains."

The notable financial performance last quarter pushed the company's six-month bottom line up 13% annually to P6 billion. On Monday, shares in Universal Robina climbed 2.12% to P125 each, defying a 3.59-percent downturn in the main index.

"The current uncertainty driven by COVID-19 is still evolving but we are motivated by the fact that business results in the first half turned out better than our severe lockdown forecasts," Irwin Lee, company president and chief executive, said.

"The current uncertainty driven by COVID-19 is still evolving but we are motivated by the fact that business results in the first half turned out better than our severe lockdown forecasts," Lee added.

Broken down, Universal Robina's operating income spiked 16% on-year in the second quarter which the company attributed to "positive category mix and disciplined cost control amid the pandemic." 

Meanwhile, net sales went up at a slower annual rate of 1% during the period after a decline in out-of-home consumption of its candies and beverages offset "strong growth" from consumers that hoarded snack foods, noodles, powdred drinks, animal feeds, flour and sugar during the lockdown period.

As it is, the company said it is facing the pandemic with a strong balance sheet. From January to June, net debt dropped P11.5 billion year-on-year to P17.1 billion due to "strong" operating cashflow and proceeds from sale of its 40% stake in Unisnack Oceania.

“Managing through this crisis requires continued vigilance, agility and flexibility," Lee said. "While we may have weathered the first wave of this crisis, we must continue securing the here and now, while also preparing for the recovery efforts for the balance of the year and beyond."

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORP
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