Philippines’ Gokongwei Group Buys Malaysia’s Munchy For $454 Million, Boosting Southeast Asian Footprint

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Universal Robina Corp. (I Go Up)– controlled by billionaire Lance Gokongwei and his siblings – has agreed to buy Malaysia’s Manchi Food Industries from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners for 1.9 billion ringgit ($454 million) as the Philippine company expands its footprint in Southeast Asia expands.

Irwin C. Lee, President and CEO of URC, said the acquisition will add value to URC’s international product portfolio and expand its market position in Malaysia to become the country’s leading biscuit maker. Statement on Friday. The transaction is expected to be completed next month.

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Established in 1991, Munchy’s is Malaysia’s No. 1 biscuit brand and its products are distributed in 50 countries globally. It offers products across all major biscuit segments including Munchies Cream Crackers, Lexus Cream Sandwiches, Oat Crunch, Music Wafers and Choc-O Cookies.

“The platform, with its strong brands, talented organization and operational excellence, is a great strategic fit with URC,” Lee said. “Together, we will be able to further expand the footprint of URC and Munchy’s brands and unlock growth synergies in Malaysia as well as across the ASEAN region.”

The acquisition comes after URC sold its remaining 60% stake in Unisnack ANZ to its joint venture partner Intersnack Group in August, exiting the Australia and New Zealand snack food business and focusing on Southeast Asia. Financial details were not disclosed at the time of announcement.

After completion of disinvestment in October, URC said This month it reported an extraordinary $250 million profit from the sale of Unisnack in its full-year results. In the nine months ended September 30, the company reported that net income rose 38% over the prior year to 11.2 billion pesos ($222.4 million), strengthened by tax benefits and proceeds from the sale of unused land. Sales rose 3% to 102.6 billion pesos during the period, as consumer demand was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

URC—known for its domestic Jack ‘n Jill snacks in the Philippines—has a strong presence throughout Southeast Asia, generating sales of 133 billion pesos in 2020, with more than 14,000 employees across the region. The company was founded by the late billionaire John Gokongwei in 1954 as a corn starch factory. In addition to manufacturing snacks, URC has interests in instant noodles, beverages and agro-industrial goods.

After Gokongwei passed away in 2019, his six children—Lance, Robina, Lisa, Faith, Hope, and Marcia—inherited his fortune. The siblings had a net worth of $4.1 billion, placing them fourth on the list of the 50 richest people in the Philippines when it was last published in September this year. His fortune is derived largely from stakes held at the JG Summit, which has interests in airlines, telecommunications, banking, food, power and property.

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