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URC sells stake in snacks joint venture to partner Intersnack

Consumer foods maker Universal Robina Corp. said on Friday that its snacks and biscuits joint venture based in Australia and New Zealand is to be fully owned by its partner Intersnack Group.

“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,” Irwin C. Lee, president and chief executive officer of URC, said in a statement.

The joint venture — Uni Snack Holding Co. Ltd. or Unisnack ANZ — was formed when Intersnack partnered with URC in December 2019 by acquiring 40% of shares in the consolidated businesses of URC Oceania Co. Ltd.

Intersnack will be acquiring the remaining 60% of the shares of Unisnack ANZ for an undisclosed amount. URC said its unit URC Oceania signed the agreement to sell on July 29.

Last year, Unisnack ANZ generated around $450 million through its subsidiaries, Snack Brands Australia and Griffin’s Foods. Both units carry a variety of brands.

Salty snack manufacturer Snacks Brands Australia has Kettle, Thins, Cheezels, CC’s, Natural Chips, Jumpy’s, and Samboy under its belt.

Meanwhile, Griffin’s Foods is a biscuit manufacturer based in New Zealand. It carries Griffin’s, Huntley & Palmers, and Gingernuts, as well as its own brands Nice & Natural, Eta, and Uppercuts.

“Unisnack ANZ, its competent management and great commercial performance, is an excellent strategic fit which will strengthen our market coverage in Oceania region and enrich our existing portfolio and innovation pipeline,” Intersnack Group Executive Chairman Maarten Leerdam said in a statement on Friday.

SECOND-QUARTER PERFORMANCE

In a separate disclosure, URC said its second-quarter net income attributable to owners amounted to P5.05 billion, 43% higher than the P3.54 billion it generated in the same period last year.

URC’s topline for the quarter inched down to P33.92 billion from P33.95 billion.

In the first semester, its attributable net income rose by nearly 46% to P8.05 billion from last year’s P5.53 billion. It said the increase was due to lower finance costs, net foreign exchange losses, and higher income from the sale of its fixed assets.

“We are holding strong in weak market conditions in this crisis; but also using this crisis to prepare and reshape our business for long term sustained value creation,” Mr. Lee said in another statement.

The company’s net sales for the January-to-June period inched up by 1.7% to P68.53 billion from P67.41 billion year on year as its international business units recovered and the company’s commodities segment posted growth.

URC’s agro-industrial and commodities unit saw sales grow by 2% to P16.8 billion compared with last year.

“The Commodity Foods Group’s 13% growth was mainly driven by the contribution of last year’s acquisitions, Central Azucarera de La Carlota and Roxol Bioenergy Corp.,” URC said.

The commodity foods group generated P11.41 billion in the six-month period from P10.11 billion previously. Meanwhile, sales of the agro-industrial group went down by 15% to P5.43 billion from P6.39 billion.

Sales of its domestic and international branded consumer foods (BCF) segment totaled P51.7 billion.

Domestic revenues declined by 7.1% to P29.16 billion “as the Philippine business cycles through a higher base last year from pantry-loading, and as consumer sentiment and trading conditions remained weak.”

International revenues grew by 13.4% to P21.55 billion from P19.01 billion. URC said Vietnam and Thailand were key drivers after recording double-digit growth in the first half.

On Friday, shares of URC at the stock exchange went down by 4.38% or P5.80 to close at P126.70 each. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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