By Adrian H. Halili, Reporter

METRO PACIFIC Agro Ventures, Inc. (MPAV) said it expects the group’s dairy business to drive growth after a strong revenue performance by one of its partners, the Carmen’s Best ice cream brand.

“Carmen’s Best (is now) doubling revenue… the greenhouse (gardening business) will start next year, so no earnings from that yet,” MPAV President and Chief Executive Officer Jovy I. Hernandez told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of a forum last week.

The company’s parent, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), has a partnership with the Carmen’s Best group, which consists of Carmen’s Best Dairy Products, Inc., Carmen’s Best International Dairy Co., Inc., Real Fresh Dairy Farms, Inc., and The Laguna Creamery, Inc.

“At the dairy farm we are now expanding the number of cows, but if you recall we announced last year that we are breaking ground on a large dairy facility that is being constructed,” Mr. Hernandez added.

He said the dairy facility is set to begin commercial operations by the fourth quarter of 2025.

“The total capacity of that would be about 2,000 cows. We will probably start with 1,000,” Mr. Hernandez added.

The company announced earlier this year that it aims to build a dairy facility in Laguna which will produce about six million liters of milk per year. The facility will be operated via a P2-billion partnership with Israel’s LR Group.

The National Dairy Authority said that it is aiming to grow dairy production to 80 million liters per year by 2028.

Mr. Hernandez said that the P1-billion greenhouse project will begin operations by the fourth quarter of next year. The greenhouse is expected to produce about 1,600 metric tons of vegetables annually.

He added that MPAV is looking at other possible investments.

“There is a lot of things in the pipeline that we are looking at, but we are (still) studying. But so far, we are zeroed in and focused on the dairy and greenhouse,” he said.

“We are trying to see whether we can do something in other industries,” he added.

MPAV recently purchased a 34.76% stake in Axelum Resources Corp., a coconut processor, for P5.32 billion.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of First Pacific, the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.