Vitasoy Group and URC in Joint Venture To Promote High-Quality Sustainable Plant-based Beverage Products

HONG KONG, Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Hong Kong's Vitasoy Group ("Vitasoy") and Universal Robina Corporation ("URC") in the Philippines have established a joint venture that recognises the Philippines' potential and its long-term growth prospects as a market for high-quality, nutritious and sustainable food and beverage products.

Vitasoy Group Chief Executive Officer Mr. Roberto Guidetti stated, "URC is a sizable company within a successful Group with strong leadership in the food and beverage industry. Vitasoy is excited about the partnership of two successful Asian family companies to bring high quality sustainable plant-based beverages to the Filipino community."

URC's President and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Lance Y. Gokongwei said, "We see a perfect fit in this joint venture, as both URC and Vitasoy are companies that strive to promote both consumer well-being and sustainable nutrition. Vitasoy is an innovative company, a reliable employer and a responsible corporate citizen dedicated to providing food and beverage that are compatible with a healthy lifestyle to communities and to creating value for its shareholders."

Mr. Guidetti added that the joint venture will explore the potential of plant-based sustainable beverages in the Philippines and approach the market with a spirit of learning. "Whilst confident that the long-term consumer trends are very favourable, we consider the Philippines a very developed, competitive and diversified market which will require diligent study and learning to ensure that the joint venture portfolio offering will best serve the needs and desires of the Filipino community," said Mr. Guidetti.

Established in 1940 by Dr. Kwee-seong Lo, Vitasoy is a leading international manufacturer and distributor of a food and beverage portfolio focused on sustainable plant-based nutrition. Its products include soya and other types of plant milk, such as coconut milk and almond milk, as well as tofu under the VITASOY brand. It also offers a variety of teas, juices, distilled water and other beverages under the VITA brand. Made with non-GMO soya beans, Vitasoy's soya milk portfolio offers a variety of formulations such as those that have zero cholesterol, are lactose free, low in saturated fat and rich in good quality protein. Vitasoy currently has manufacturing operations in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Australia and Singapore, and sells to more than 40 markets globally. It has a market capitalisation exceeding US$2 billion as of January 31, 2017.

Total revenue of the Vitasoy Group has a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 percent having increased from HK$3.7 billion (US$478 million) in FY2011/12 to HK$5.6 billion (US$714 million) in FY2015/16. Over that period, revenue of Hong Kong Operation grew at a CAGR of 6 percent while other overseas operations grew at a CAGR of 14 percent in total.

URC -- the company behind market leading brands Jack 'n Jill, Great Taste, and C2 -- is one of the Philippines' largest branded consumer food and beverage companies, with a market capitalization of almost US$9 billion and a growing presence in the ASEAN and Oceania markets. The company has a wide range of food-related businesses, including the production and distribution of branded consumer foods, sugar refining and flour milling, and agro-industrial operations, mainly in hogs farming and animal feed milling.

URC is building on robust growth in sales in key markets to be a leading player in Asia.

Combined sales of its branded products in the Philippines and abroad have a 5-year CAGR of 13 percent from P50.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) in FY2011 to P92.5 billion (US$2.0 billion) in FY2016. Over that same period, CAGR for International and Domestic Branded Foods are 10 percent and 14 percent respectively.

About Vitasoy

Vitasoy Group is a leading manufacturer and distributor of plant-based food and beverages headquartered in Hong Kong. Since its establishment in 1940 by Dr. Kwee-seong Lo, the Company has been promoting sustainable nutrition through provision of a variety of high-quality products with Nutrition, Taste and Sustainability as the guidelines for its portfolio offerings. The Vitasoy Group integrates social responsibility into its business and contributes to the communities that the Group serves. Currently, the Group has manufacturing operations in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Australia and Singapore, and its products are available in approximately more than 40 markets worldwide. Vitasoy International Holdings Limited is listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (00345).

About URC

Universal Robina Corporation (URC), the first "Philippine-based Pan ASEAN Multinational", is the largest listed food company in the Philippines and has established a strong presence in the ASEAN markets. Recently, the company has further expanded its reach to New Zealand and Australia through the acquisition of Griffin's Foods, the number one snack foods company in New Zealand and Snack Brands Australia, the second largest salty snacks player in Australia. URC is among the Philippines' pioneers in the industry, having been in operations since 1954 when Mr. John L. Gokongwei, Jr. established Universal Corn Products, a corn starch manufacturing plant. URC is engaged in a wide variety of businesses. Its core branded consumer foods group includes manufacturing and distribution of snack foods, beverages and grocery products. In the Philippines, the company is also into food ingredients (flour milling, sugar milling and refining) and allied agro-industrial products (hog farming, animal feed milling, glucose, soy products and veterinary compounds). URC has also invested in ancillary segments mainly focusing on renewable energy to further add value and process by-products to produce biogas, fuel grade bio-ethanol and power (biomass cogeneration).

Source: Vitasoy International Holdings Limited
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