Expansion of ASEAN food corporations

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Rolando T. Dy

M. A. P. Insights

Expansion of ASEAN food corporations

Many Philippine companies expand overseas to reach more consumers and increase revenues. Also, companies can utilize global markets to introduce unique products and services (

According to the McKinsey consultancy, “the strategic rationale for an acquisition has the following six archetypes: “improving the performance of the target company, removing excess capacity from an industry, creating market access for products, acquiring skills or technologies more quickly or at lower cost than they could be built in-house, exploiting a business’ industry-specific scalability, and picking winners early and helping them develop their businesses” (, May 2017).

ASEAN is one of the fastest-growing regions with a large population. In the past five years, there have been exciting developments in corporate expansion/acquisition. Here are some in the Philippines.

Universal Robina Corp. (URC). The leading snack foods firm took over New Zealand’s leading biscuit and snack food company Griffin’s Foods Ltd. for NZ$700 million ($580 million) in 2014. This was followed in 2016 with the takeover of Australia’s Consolidated Snacks Pty. Ltd. for AU$600M ($454 million).

Del Monte Pacific. In 2014, the firm purchased Del Monte Foods (USA) consumer products business for $1.675 billion. Del Monte Pacific is 67%-owned by NutriAsia Pacific Ltd. The latter is owned by the NutriAsia Group of Companies, which is majority-owned by the Campos family.

Emperador/Alliance Global. Emperador is the world’s largest brandy maker. In 2016, it bought the Domecq brandies and wines of Pernod Ricard in Mexico. In the previous year, the biggest acquisition was its buyout of Beam Suntory’s brandy and sherry business in Jerez, Spain for $290 million in cash for Bodegas Fundador.

In 2014, Emperador acquired United Spirits’ Whyte & Mackay whisky business for £430 million ($729 million).

San Miguel Group. The group has been present in food, beverage, and packaging in Southeast Asia, China, and Australia. In 2017, its packaging unit, San Miguel Yamamura, acquired Australia-based Best Bottlers, which specializes in wines, cider, ready-to-drink and nonalcoholic beverages. Best Bottlers is the third Australian bottling company acquired by San Miguel this year after Barossa Bottling and Portavin.

Liwayway/Oishi. Asia’s leading snack maker operates 30 factories overseas: 16 in China, some 14 overseas (ASEAN, India, and South Africa), plus three in the Philippines. In 2016, the Liwayway Group acquired Spain’s Cola Cao business in China in a transaction costing $13 million.

Monde Nissin. In 2015, the Philippines’ leading noodles and biscuit maker, bought United Kingdom-based Quorn for £550 million ($831 million). Quorn is the world leader in meat alternatives.

Bounty Fresh. The poultry value chain player has expanded overseas. In 2016, PT Bounty Segar Indonesia, a joint venture company with an Indonesian conglomerate, began. Also, Bounty Agro Ventures, together with its business partner, will soon introduce their flagship rotisserie product “Chooks-to-Go” in Malaysia.

In 2017, Bounty Fresh mounted a $309.4-million cash offer for New Zealand’s Tegel Group Holdings. A spokesman for Bounty’s mergers and acquisitions said the bid was part of an expansion strategy for Southeast Asia.

Jollibee Group. As of end-2016, Jollibee International operated 167 stores, with 35 in the United States, one in Canada, 84 in Vietnam, 14 in Brunei, three in Hong Kong, four in Singapore, and 26 in the Middle East. In 2016, Jollibee opened its first store in the Midwest USA, in Illinois. This was followed by opening in Winnipeg, Canada.

This year (2018), Jollibee Foods said it would raise its stake in US restaurant chain Smashburger to 85%, in a $100-million transaction to be paid in cash.

Jollibee Foods also announced it will bring Vietnamese noodle house Pho 24 to the Philippines.

While Philippine companies are expanding overseas, Asian companies have also been investing or acquiring businesses in the Philippines.

Itochu (Japan). The biggest acquisition was Itochu’s purchase of the worldwide packaged foods and Asian fresh businesses of Dole Food Co., Inc. for $1.685 billion in 2013. The transaction resulted in the takeover of Dole’s pineapple and banana operations in Mindanao.

Charoen Pokphand (CP). The company plans to invest $500 million a year in the country, as discussed during its meeting with President Duterte in Bangkok in early 2017. CP, ASEAN’s largest agribusiness conglomerate, already operates a subsidiary in the Philippines.

QAF/Gardenia. Singapore-based QAF Holdings owns the Gardenia brands in the Philippines. Gardenia dominates the packaged bread market with its wide array of bakery products. It has three plants in Laguna and Cebu.

In 2016, Gardenia brought Australia’s Bakers Maison to Manila, with plans to open 100 stores in the next few years. Bakers Maison specializes in French-style breads and pastries. In 2017, Gardenia created a new wholly owned company Nutribake Food Products, Inc. to rationalize its Philippine operations. This year, it is investing P1 billion for the construction of a manufacturing facility in Cagayan de Oro. It is also constructing a new plant in North Luzon.

DelfiFoods/Goya. Headquartered in Singapore, Delfi chocolate confectionery products have core markets in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Why do Philippine firms expand overseas? The Philippine consumer market, while growing, is getting crowded for them. And they have money to invest.

Why do foreign firms expand in the Philippines? A large population, growing incomes, an expanding middle class, and having different products to offer, give them an advantage.

This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or the MAP.


Rolando T. Dy is the Vice Chair of the M.A.P. AgriBusiness and Countryside Development Committee, and the Executive Director of the Center for Food and AgriBusiness of the University of Asia & the Pacific.