UNIVERSAL Robina Corp. (URC) is setting up an alcohol sector when the market for sanitation goods emerged as a consequence of the coronavirus disease pandemic of 2019 (COVID-19).

The Gokongwei-led food business announced in its statement on Tuesday that it is diversifying its product portfolio to include two pharmaceutical grade alcohol brands: Shield+ and BioSure.

The rubbing alcohol company will be operated by the agro-industrial and consumer division of the URC. The company’s La Carlota distillery in Negros Occidental would provide the products in the long run.

“This is compatible with our fundamental beliefs of compassion for the Filipino people in the light of the current pandemic. We have the power to do so, and we want to contribute. There is interest out there. It only makes sense,” said Vincent C. Go, Managing Director of URC’s agro-industrial division.

URC said that last year the alcohol segment was priced at P4.1 billion. As a consequence of the epidemic of COVID-19, its revenues rose by 76% to P1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

BioSure items are still being distributed to neighborhood stores and establishments earlier this month, whilst the Shield+ brand of alcohol will begin delivery in December.

URC gained permission from its board of directors as early as July to amend its articles of incorporation and to incorporate the manufacture of pharmaceutical grade alcohol as its secondary intent.

The aim is to exploit the company’s sugar distillery facilities in the manufacture of bio-ethanol fuel items from sugar cane.

In the first three quarters of the year, URC created a net attributable revenue of P7.5 billion, up 7 percent from last year due to lower costs and expenses.

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