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San Miguel Says Several Parties Interested in Brewery Stake

San Miguel Corp. beer
Crates of San Miguel Corp. beer sit in the back of a delivery truck in Manila. Photographer: Edwin Tuyay/Bloomberg

San Miguel Corp. President Ramon Ang said “several parties” have approached the company about buying its majority stake in the Philippines’ biggest brewer.

“We’re not selling it,” Ang said today in Manila of the 51 percent holding in San Miguel Brewery Inc. “But of course I’m not the only one who would decide.” He said the company also received offers for its food and packaging units, declining to identify any suitors.

A buyer would gain control over the beverage maker that sells 9 of 10 beers in the Philippines and whose operating margin is the industry’s second-widest in Asia. San Miguel, which started as a brewer over a century ago, is selling assets to bankroll a $35 billion investment plan to expand in airlines, energy and infrastructure.

Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co. bought 48.3 percent stake in San Miguel Brewery in 2009 for $1.5 billion. The company is expanding abroad amid Japan’s weakening demand for beer, which declined for an eighth straight year in 2012. The seller of Ichiban Shibori beer has the highest overseas sales ratio of the country’s four biggest brewers, with 30 percent of sales from outside Japan last year.

San Miguel fell 1.8 percent to close at 83.35 pesos in Manila trading. The stock has lost 21 percent this year.

Pale Pilsen

San Miguel Brewery controls more than 90 percent of the beer market in the Philippines, according to its website. The beermaker, whose portfolio of 10 brands includes the namesake San Miguel Pale Pilsen, had an operating margin of 29.6 percent last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The brewery posted a record 14.4 billion-peso ($334 million) profit last year on 75.58 billion pesos of sales. Beverages accounted for 13 percent of the group’s revenue last year while food made up of 14 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

San Miguel said this month it was selling its 27 percent stake in Manila Electric Co., the nation’s largest power retailer, for 72 billion pesos to JG Summit Holdings Inc.

The company, which started when the Philippines was still a colony of Spain, has made more than $5.6 billion of acquisitions since 2008. Its most recent purchase was 35 percent of Northern Cement Corp. for 3 billion pesos.

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