• Finance costs pare URC profits by 21%


    GOKONGWEI-LED Universal Robina Corp. (URC) said net income in the first nine months fell 21.2 percent to P8.4 billion as earnings were pressured by higher net finance costs.

    Operating income declined 7.4 percent to P10.8 billion, while core earnings before tax was at P9.7 billion, lower by 13.3 percent year-on-year.

    “This was due to the higher net finance costs from the additional long-term debt interest expense from the loan used for SBA’s [Snack Brands Australia] acquisition; the continued servicing of the onshore debt in New Zealand; and the higher share of equitized losses from both the consolidation of the new joint venture [JV] with Vitasoy, and the continued heavy investments in advertising and promotions and distribution for the JVs with Calbee and Danone,” URC said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

    Net sales increased 13.1 percent to P92.4 billion backed by the strong performance of its snacking and joint ventures in Branded Consumer Foods (BCF) Philippines and Thailand, farms, and the incremental sales coming from Snack Brands Australia.

    “Profitability remained weak as the company faced a decline in volumes and a change in mix particularly on the coffee category of BCF Philippines, a slower than expected recovery in Vietnam, and an overall unfavorable forex and input cost inflation,” it said.

    Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization remained robust at P15.3 billion.

    Major cash outflows for the period were capital expenditures, dividend payments and working capital which amounted to P5.4 billion, P7.2 billion and P3.1 billion, respectively.

    URC has operations and distribution lines in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Middle East, Southeast Asia and West Africa.


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