Universal Robina Corp. started the year on a positive note as it managed to grow its first quarter earnings by 3% to P3.1 billion despite higher finance costs and lower foreign exchange gains.
In a statement, URC said net sales rose 7% to P33.3 billion, driven by its domestic operations.
The branded consumer foods group chalked up P25.7 billion in sales, up 5% year on year. Revenues from local operations rose 11% to P15.6 billion on robust sales across all categories with coffee returning to growth after three years of decline.
Overseas, sales declined 3% to P10.2 billion, driven by foreign exchange devaluation in Australia and New Zealand ranging from 8-10%. International operating income, however, rose 5% as margins expanded despite weaker currencies.
Agro-industrial sales grew 21%, largely driven by higher feed sales. The commodities division expanded 13% with flour and pasta growing 25% on the back of higher volumes while sugar and renewables registered a 9% spike in sales due to higher selling prices.
“ While the environment continues to be very challenging, the transformation plans we have set in place have started to gain traction. The entire URC team is now heavily focused on execution with the aim of sustaining what we have achieved for the balance of the year and beyond. We also expect to hold or slightly improve our operating margins for the year,” said URC president and CEO Irwin Lee.