RFM mulls dedicated facility for Magnum

By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 22 2012 07:10 AM | Updated as of May 22 2012 06:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - RFM Corp. and Uniliver, through their joint endeavor Selecta, are reportedly considering putting up a dedicated ice cream plant for premium Belgian chocolate ice cream bar brand Magnum due to phenomenal sales, company sources said.

Magnum, which has already enjoyed huge success in Europe, Australia and other parts of Asia, was recently brought to the Philippines by Unilever and RFM, the mother company of Selecta.

RFM said the strong demand for Magnum helped boost its first quarter 2012 earnings 30 percent to P130.3 million from P100.1 million in 2011.

RFM president and CEO Jose Concepcion said the company’s total sales grew by a faster 16 percent, owing in part to the 37 percent growth in sales of unit Selecta.

“This rate would be even higher if we look at March alone year-on-year, since it was the month we introduced the latest ice cream craze Magnum,” he said.

Concepcion said that demand for the Belgian chocolate ice cream bar “has been beyond expectations.”

“Stocks have been running out, the company is making arrangements to increase further supplies,” he said.

However, Magnum was just one of the reasons for RFM’s profit growth.

The company said easing costs of production inputs such as milk and sugar also lifted its bottom line.

It added that its Fiesta pasta brand also performed well with a 70-percent sales increase, while its White King brands of arroz cal do and champorado sustained sales growth momentum of 30 percent.

“We believe that stronger brand equity and product innovations have influenced the shift in buying pattern and frequency in a number of categories we participate in,” noted Concepcion.

In full-year 2011, high costs pulled down RFM’s net income 19 percent to P503.8 million.

Earlier, Unilever RFM Ice Cream marketing director Bindoy Baltazar revealed that it is the right time to introduce the Magnum brand to this tropical country. “You can see from the market - we have had specialty restaurants opening up and more international chains coming in. Filipinos have become well traveled and have been exposed to good food from other countries. There is a demand for something really, really good in the market. And ice cream is all about making people happy,” he said.