Philippines’ Universal Robina to expand ASEAN-wide

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URC productsUniversal Robina Corporation (URC), a Philippine food conglomerate owned by the Gokongwei family, is intensifying its Southeast Asian expansion programme, with Vietnam seen growing to match the current size of the Philippine market over the next 10 years.

The roadmap for the next five to six years is to double the branded food business to $3 billion, which would imply an annual growth rate of 12-15 per cent, the company’s vice president for corporate planning and investor relations head Mike Liwanag said at a recent investor briefing in Manila. Over the same period, URC also aims to boost its return on equity to 23-25 per cent from currently 17-18 per cent.

“More than a Philippine play, our difference is no matter what happens to the Philippines, we have the ASEAN geography and our future is hinged on our effective execution of that ASEAN strategy, more than just depending on our home market,” he said.

URC, which has built a regional industrial base from the ground up, is also evaluating merger-and-acquisition opportunities outside the Philippines although nothing has been finalised for now. Liwanag said that based on URC’s balance sheet strength and credibility to the capital market, the company could tap acquisitions worth around $500 million to $1 billion.

To fund its expansion plans, URC still has about 46 million treasury-held shares that could be reissued to the market if the company needed to raise fresh funds, Liwanag said.

URC is increasing its capital spending to $150 million in 2014 from $120 million in the past few years as the company ventures into Myanmar in the next six months, he said.

“We are one of the few Filipino companies that have made inroads into the ASEAN market and we are profitable,” he said.

The biggest foreign market for URC to date is Vietnam, where it sells $240 million worth of products against the $1-billion Philippine market where it has been operating for 53 years. Based on a growth trajectory of 17 per cent a year, URC’s Vietnam business could hit $1 billion in 10 years, Liwanag said, which indicated that Vietnam “could be the next Philippines.”

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Universal Robina Corporation (URC), a Philippine food conglomerate owned by the Gokongwei family, is intensifying its Southeast Asian expansion programme, with Vietnam seen growing to match the current size of the Philippine market over the next 10 years.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

URC productsUniversal Robina Corporation (URC), a Philippine food conglomerate owned by the Gokongwei family, is intensifying its Southeast Asian expansion programme, with Vietnam seen growing to match the current size of the Philippine market over the next 10 years.

The roadmap for the next five to six years is to double the branded food business to $3 billion, which would imply an annual growth rate of 12-15 per cent, the company’s vice president for corporate planning and investor relations head Mike Liwanag said at a recent investor briefing in Manila. Over the same period, URC also aims to boost its return on equity to 23-25 per cent from currently 17-18 per cent.

“More than a Philippine play, our difference is no matter what happens to the Philippines, we have the ASEAN geography and our future is hinged on our effective execution of that ASEAN strategy, more than just depending on our home market,” he said.

URC, which has built a regional industrial base from the ground up, is also evaluating merger-and-acquisition opportunities outside the Philippines although nothing has been finalised for now. Liwanag said that based on URC’s balance sheet strength and credibility to the capital market, the company could tap acquisitions worth around $500 million to $1 billion.

To fund its expansion plans, URC still has about 46 million treasury-held shares that could be reissued to the market if the company needed to raise fresh funds, Liwanag said.

URC is increasing its capital spending to $150 million in 2014 from $120 million in the past few years as the company ventures into Myanmar in the next six months, he said.

“We are one of the few Filipino companies that have made inroads into the ASEAN market and we are profitable,” he said.

The biggest foreign market for URC to date is Vietnam, where it sells $240 million worth of products against the $1-billion Philippine market where it has been operating for 53 years. Based on a growth trajectory of 17 per cent a year, URC’s Vietnam business could hit $1 billion in 10 years, Liwanag said, which indicated that Vietnam “could be the next Philippines.”

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