Increased commodity costs have led to profits at Philippines-based food group Universal Robina Corp. falling over the first nine months of its fiscal year.

The company, which makes biscuits, snacks and confectionery, posted a 12.4% decrease in operating income to PHP772m (US$18.1m). It said the "global increase in commodity prices relative to last year's prices eroded the company's margins".

URC saw net income drop 24.9% to PHP4.9bn during the nine months to the end of June due to the lower operating income and a fall in the market values of bond investments.

However, commodity prices did help URC's sales. The company, which refines sugar, mills flour and farms hogs and poultry, reported "strong top-line growth". It said net sales increased 17.7% to PHP42.96bn over the first nine months of the year.

URC pointed to the "outstanding performance of our international brands foods business" and the high price of sugar.

In the third quarter, URC saw its net income drop 13.9% to PHP1.66bn in the three months to the end of June. URC's operating income was down 13.2% to PHP1.64bn.

The lower profits came despite a 2.1% rise in sales to PHP17.28bn.

Click here for the full statement from URC.