URC exits snack food business in Oceania

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Gokongwei Group’s Universal Robina Corp. will exit the Oceania region, seven years after snapping up New Zealand snack giant Griffin’s Foods in 2014 and Snack Brands Australia in 2016, to focus on other growth segments across developing markets.

URC has agreed to sell its stake in Unisnack ANZ to its joint venture partner Intersnack Group of Europe, the Germany-headquartered savoury snacks manufacturer announced yesterday.

Unisnack ANZ is a joint venture between URC Oceania and Intersnack, established in 2019 with URC Oceania holding a 60 percent share and Intersnack owning 40 percent.

The joint venture company is in charge of URC’s business in Oceania through subsidiaries biscuit manufacturer Griffin’s Foods and Snack Brands Australia which manufactures salty snack brands.

Intersnack Group will acquire URC Oceania’s remaining 60 percent in the joint venture to increase its ownership to 100 percent. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

Unisnack ANZ generated approximately $450 million in 2020 through both its subsidiaries, Snack Brands Australia and Griffin’s Foods.

URC president and CEO Irwin Lee said 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,” Lee said.

Maarten Leerdam, executive chairman of Intersnack Group, said Unisnack ANZ, its competent management and great commercial performance, is an excellent strategic fit which will strengthen Intersnack’s market coverage in Oceania and enrich its existing portfolio and innovation pipeline.

“URC will now exit the region with heads held high,” said Paul Musgrave, CEO of Unisnack ANZ.

“We have developed strong relationships with Intersnack over the last two years and genuinely look forward to building on this as we continue our journey toward delighting customers across the region,” Musgrave said.

URC has long established a strong presence in the ASEAN region, generating P133.1 billion or $2.7 billion in sales in 2020, with more than 14,000 employees across the region.

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