Corporate News

Beverage bigwigs keen to set up more factories

Posted on May 30, 2012

TWO BEVERAGE heavyweights yesterday bared rosy sales outlooks and expansion plans, with San Miguel Brewery, Inc. looking to set up more factories abroad while The Coca-Cola Export Corp. mulled more bottling lines.

The beer manufacturing arm of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it was looking to sustain double-digit growth this year, mirroring its performance in 2011 on the back of its budget beer products.

“The beer business is getting better and better. I think we can achieve double-digit growth in terms of net income and revenues this year,� Ramon S. Ang, San Miguel Brewery chairman, told reporters at a press briefing following the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Mandaluyong City.

Last year, San Miguel Brewery boosted its full-year net income by 17.4% to P12.2 billion due to an uptick in sales volume as well as higher selling prices.

“Our growth drivers will principally be our products. We will try to juggle our focus among our beer products so we will find where we can earn more so we can retain profitability,� Mr. Ang said.

Specifically, the company will concentrate on marketing its lower-priced beers Gold Eagle and San Miguel Pale Pilsen to broaden its customer base even as it introduced the more upscale San Miguel Flavored Beer last year.

“We’re looking at putting up breweries in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos, but we’re still studying these places. At a minimum, these may cost some hundred million dollars per plant, which will then bring additional revenues of about $200 to $300 million per year per plant,� Mr. Ang added.

This will come on top of its current operations in Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Shares of the beer maker were traded unchanged at P29.45 apiece yesterday.

Meanwhile, the unlisted local unit of United States-based beverage giant The Coca-Cola Co., is also bullish for its prospects, with an official pointing to the country’s large and young consumer base.

“We will definitely be growing faster than the national economy,� Guillermo Aponte, Coca-Cola Export president and general manager, told reporters at a briefing yesterday.

“The Philippines is a country that offers a lot of opportunities for Coca-Cola. You have a fast-growing population, which means the young population is also growing. There is no better place for a beverage company than a country that is young,� Mr. Aponte said.

This comes as Coca-Cola Export, which celebrates its centennial in the Philippines this year, managed to keep the country among the top 10 markets for Coca-Cola worldwide, Mr. Aponte added.

Coca-Cola Export said it was also looking to launch a new variant of its Real Leaf tea drink, which was unveiled in April last year following the end of its joint-venture with food giant Nestlé for the marketing and sale of Nestea products in the country.

“From thereon, Coca-Cola in the Philippines was free to have its own tea version,� Mr. Aponte said.

To boost capacity, Coca-Cola Export is looking to put up additional bottling lines on top of its 23 existing facilities nationwide to capture more customers.

These may be located in Visayas and Mindanao, but plans have not been finalized, Mr. Aponte said. -- Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente