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Nov 16, 2016 @ 18:24

Vietnam lead scare hurting Gokongwei’s overseas food operations


Universal Robina Corp.’s international operations suffered a 15.5 percent drop in sales in the nine months to September, owing to regulatory issues encountered in Vietnam.

Sales from the group’s international branded consumer foods business fell to $479 million in US dollar terms, weighed down by food safety issues in Vietnam, where its C2 and Rong Do products are leading beverage brands.

URC was directed by Vietnamese food safety inspectors to improve warehousing practices after two batches of C2 and Rong Do were found to have breached the country’s lead content levels.

The weak performance of the international food group resulted in a slight decline in URC’s total revenues to P81.73 billion from P82.04 billion.

URC, however, managed to grow sales in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Indonesia was up by 25.5 percent driven by the growth in modern trade and robust performance of snacks and chocolates.

Malaysia grew 7.4 percent on the back of double-digit growth on wafers and candies while Thailand increased by 3.5 percent as consumer confidence has started to recover in the country.

URC has downgraded its sales forecast given its problems in Vietnam.

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