San Miguel Corp. – largest company in the Philippines

smc494938.pngBy Tony Lopez – The Securities and Exchange Commission has come out with its Top 5,000 largest corporations in sales for 2005. No. 1 in its list is Petron Corp. with P191.22 billion revenues, up 30 percent and the highest for the Philippines’ biggest oil refiner and retailer which has 38 percent of the market. Petron is owned 40 percent each by the government and by Saudi Aramco. Petron had net income of P6 billion, up 48 percent.

Actually, the biggest company in the Philippines is the San Miguel Corp.. In 2005, the beer, beverage and food behemoth had consolidated revenues of P227 billion, P36 billion more than Petron’s.

The SEC list does not consolidate revenues of subsidiaries. As a result, SMC is not even among the Top 20 in the SEC list.

How did San Miguel become the largest corporation? Thru savvy overseas acquisitions. Under Chairman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. and President Ramon S. Ang, SMC has made several major acquisitions. In 2000, it acquired Australian niche brewer J. Boag and Son for A$96 million. In 2001, it bought Purefoods Corp. for P7 billion, making it the biggest processed food company. The same year, it bought back its shares sold during the Soriano era to Coca-Coal Amatil to gain 65 percent of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. The deal was worth P60 billion.

The last three years have been frenetic for San Miguel. It bought Thai Amarit Brewery for $97 million, TTC (Vietnam) Co. food maker for $35.5 million, 51 percent of Berri Ltd., Australia’s biggest juice maker, for $97.9 million in 2004, National Foods Ltd., Australia’s biggest dairy, for P77 billion in June 2005, and Singapore-based Del Monte Pacific, the world’s largest pineapple canner, for $420 million in December 2005.

In March this year, President Ang predicted a more robust year in 2006. He looks at beer and the new businesses to increase growth rate. National Foods contributed A$1.2 billion in revenues or 21 percent of SMC’s 2005 sales.

Ang said National Foods “has helped push revenue and it has given us access to a market that has tremendous potential.”

In January to September this year, SMC chalked up revenues of P183 billion, up 14 percent and net income of P6.17 billion, up 18 percent, despite flat beer sales (P29 billion) and higher prices. Coke sales (P27.4 billion) were also down four percent and operating income down 36 percent. Food sales, at P46 billion, were up five percent. National Foods-Berri contributed A$1.34 billion sales and operating income of $103.3 billion. SMC is now a food, rather than a beer company.

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