Japan-based Calbee said it has learned a valuable lesson for picking rival Universal Robina (URC) as its joint venture partner in the Philippines. In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review in October 2018, Makoto Ehara, executive vice president of Calbee said “Universal Robina has its own brand, with the same salesmen dealing with both labels.” He added URC “sells its own product rather than the combined brands. It is difficult to fully count on a player in the same industry which has similar products.”
On 25 September 2018, URC signed an agreement with Calbee to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Calbee-Universal Robina Corp (CURC) from the Japanese firm, which will give URC a 100% stake in CURC. As part of the deal, Calbee will grant URC a licensing agreement to continue to sell Calbee products in the Philippines.
CURC net sales remained at the PHP 210-230 million level from 2015 to 2017. As a comparison, its Indonesia’s joint venture with Wings, which started operation in the first half of fiscal 2016, is expanding rapidly. Wings, famous for its Mie Sedaap instant noodle, does not have its own snack food business.
Tapping into Wings strong distribution network, Calbee saw its sales in Indonesia growing to JPY 3 billion in fiscal 2018 ending 31 March 2018.
Calbee plans to expand the production capacity at the Karawang factory in Indonesia in 2019 as the existing production capacity is full, said Ehara.