The Gokongwei-led firm said it is introducing two new brands of pharmaceutical-grade rubbing alcohol to the market, Shield+ and BioSure.

Confectioner Universal Robina ventures into rubbing alcohol business

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - November 24, 2020 - 2:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — Snack maker Universal Robina Corp. is entering the rubbing alcohol business to capitalize on high demand for disinfectants among consumers avoiding coronavirus infection.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Gokongwei-led firm is said to introduce two new brands of pharmaceutical-grade rubbing alcohol to the market namely Shield+ and BioSure. Both will become available next month.

“We have the capability, and we want to help.  There’s demand out there. It just makes sense,” Vincent Go, managing director of the company's agro-industrial group, said.

Scientifically proven to kill the deadly coronavirus at certain concentration, rubbing alcohol flew off grocery shelves in the early months of the pandemic that operators were forced to cap their sales per head. 

While shortages had since been resolved, Universal Robina expects rubbing alcohol demand to remain elevated even after the pandemic has subsided. 

By the numbers, company estimates put the market’s value at P4.1 billion in the first quarter, up 76% year-on-year. 

Of the two new products however, only Shield+ will be retailed and can be purchased on different sizes starting at 60 ml bottles to a gallon. The ethyl alcohol will be available in two scents namely aqua clean and pink fresh. 

BioSure ethyl alcohol, meanwhile, will be targeted to specific consumers, the first of which would be to agri-dealers. The product will be sold in three sizes of 500 ml, 1 liter and 1 gallon bottles.

Universal Robina is known for snack brands under Jack 'N Jill, but the company also has the capability to produce rubbing alcohol using its bioethanol distillery plants. One of which, La Carlota, which was recently bought from Roxas Holdings Inc., will supply the alcohol ingredient for Shield+ and BioSure in the long term. 

On Tuesday, shares in Universal Robina shed 3.16% to P147.20 each, tracking a downturn in the main index which succumbed to profit-taking.

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