San Miguel announces new business ventures

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: San miguel, Philippines

San Miguel Corporation (SMC), Southeast Asia's largest food and
drinks manufacturer yesterday announced plans to diversify into
mining, power, infrastructure and property to boost growth.

The radical move will cost an estimated $780m, or 10 per cent, of the Philippines' second-largest listed company's assets. In May 2007, SMC shocked investors by announcing it would spin off its flagship domestic beer business and regional packaging operation to invest in new industries. However, for now at least, the company appears to be planning to stay operating in its core business of brewing. Eduardo Cojuangco, chairman and chief executive officer of SMC said at San Miguel's annual stockholders meeting that the new investments would only represent a fraction of the total portfolio. "Despite our ambitions, which some have criticised as 'outsized', our intent has always been to act with caution,"​ he said. He said the "new engines of growth" would deliver shareholder value and higher earnings potential for the company. "We want to be in industries that have scale and will grow and we are determined to build leadership positions in key areas where important trends are driving future growth, not just for San Miguel but for thePhilippinestoo,"​ he said. The first industry the company is planning to enter is power, with SMC rumoured to be planning a bid for a 600-megawatt power plant set to be auctioned in October. The Calaca plant, in Batangas south of the Manila, is one of a number of owned by the state that are to be run by private enterprises under license. SMC is also planning to become a major producer of the biofuel ethanol, which is seen as replacement for fossil fuels. According to a report cited by the Philippine Stock Exchange, SMC is looking into 76,000 hectares of sugarcane land to supply 10 ethanol manufacturing plants, each with 100,000 litre daily capacity. In 2006, SMC revenues grew by 10 per cent, with a consolidated operating income 18 per cent higher than 2005. Net income increased 17 per cent to P10.6bn ($237m), according to the company.

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