Universal Robina profits up 51% as tax perks kick in

Universal Robina Corporation (URC) saw its profits go up by 51% to P3.2 billion in the first quarter of 2021, due to lower corporate taxes, growth in operating income, and controlled financing costs.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed the Comprehensive Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE Act, which lowers corporate income taxes to 25%.

URC’s sales during the first three months grew a modest 3% to P34.6 billion, while operating income grew 9% to P4.3 billion.

Sales of domestic and international branded consumer foods amounted to P25.7 billion. Domestic revenues dipped by 5% to P14.9 billion, as market sentiment continues to be challenged.

The Gokongwei-led company produces some of the country's most popular snacks, including Chippy and Chiz Curlz, as well as beverages like C2 and Great Taste Coffee.

“COVID-19 is still very much with us. In general, domestic sentiment remains muted, with many consumers still very cautious on spending,” said URC president and chief executive officer Irwin Lee.

“On the cost side, we face headwinds as commodity prices continue rising. Despite these challenges, we were able to gain market share, increase overall top line sales, and achieve good profit growth.”

URC said that its financial position remains strong, with a cash balance of P18.6 billion and net debt of P21.3 billion. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.