UNIVERSAL Robina Corp. (URC) announced that its net income in the first quarter was higher by 20% to P3.6 billion from P3 billion, driven by higher sales and foreign exchange gains.

“Over the past months, countries in the region have opened up their economies as COVID transitions to an endemic phase, we see market recovery,” President Irwin C. Lee said in a virtual briefing.

In the same period, sales were up 22% to P35.8 billion from P29.4 billion, from strong growth.

Of this, URC said that its Munchy’s unit contributed 5% to topline growth.

In 2021, URC acquired Malaysian biscuits company Munchy’s and declared its divestments in Oceania.

“URC is uniquely strong with a wide and diverse portfolio of products, leading positions in all categories and markets. We have built distribution through the pandemic, improving physical availability and winning the customers even during the downturn,” Mr. Lee said.

“The markets we compete with have not yet recovered from COVID declines. However, across the categories we played in, URC has performed better than overall market situation,” he added.

In 2021, URC’s net income rose 23% to P13 billion, driven by foreign exchange gains, proceeds from the sale of idle assets, and tax savings.

At the stock exchange on Wednesday, URC shares fell by 0.88% or P1.00 to close at P113 apiece. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson