URC continues overseas expansion
Universal Robina Corp. (URC), a listed snack food and beverage manufacturer, is bullish on its recent overseas acquisitions and partnerships, company president and CEO Lance Gokongwei said on Wednesday.
URC took steps to expand its profile overseas and the region, with the acquisition of New Zealand Snack Foods Holdings Ltd., which owns Griffin’s Foods, New Zealand’s biggest snack foods maker, for $609 million.
It also established joint ventures with France’s Danone and Japan’s Calbee in 2014.
“We are clearly in the investment stage. We expect (these ventures) to be profitable in three to five years,” Gokongwei told reporters at the sidelines of the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday.
He said URC was readying the launch of the Griffin products into URC’s markets in the Philippines and across the region.
Gokongwei said the company remained keen on new partnerships at a time when competition was expected to intensify with the upcoming economic integration within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean.
“The middle class is growing, they are developing an appetite for more affordable indulgences and healthier foods,” Gokongwei said.
URC is spending $200 million during the current fiscal year mainly for the commissioning of facilities in Central Vietnam and Myanmar.
“First and foremost, the opportunity remains in the Philippines and Southeast Asia,” Gokongwei noted.
URC earlier reported a 21.6-percent growth in sales to P55.64 billion in the first half of its fiscal year 2015. This was driven by its branded foods and complemented by sugar and feeds.