Gokongwei yet to recover from C2 lead scandal: Vietnam sales still 65% of pre-recall levels
Universal Robina Corp., the food and beverage arm of bilyonaryo Lance Gokongwei, has not fully recovered from a 2016 lead scandal which tainted its popular green tea and energy drink brands sold in Vietnam.
Its sales volume in Vietnam is just 65 percent of what it was before the Vietnam Ministry of Health ordered the recall of URC’s C2 green tea and Rong Do after one of its production batches was found with high levels of lead. URC was fined $260,000 for the health scandal.
“Test results showed these batches had a lead content of 0.053 to 0.085 milligrams (mg) per litre, definitively above the acceptable limit of 0.05 mg per litre. The lead contamination scandal has damaged the reputation of the company and consumers remain wary of its products,” according to a report by the Vietnam Investment Review in April 2018.
This year, URC’s sales in Vietnam inched up by one percent sales in the second quarter, much slower than its eight percent sales growth the previous quarter.
URC is optimistic it would recover lost ground in the second half this year with stronger sales of its energy drink.
Overall, URC’s international sales dropped by five percent to P10.1 billion in the second quarter from year-ago levels with Thailand down by 12 percent while its losing Australian business up by a meager four percent.