Battling Over An Ocean Of Suds In The Philippines

The contest for San Miguel could even affect the presidency

Beer and politics may seem a strange brew, but it's familiar enough in the Philippines. San Miguel Corp. has loomed large in Manila for much of its 107-year history. The country's fifth-largest company and a giant among Asian food-and-beverage producers, San Miguel accounts for 4% of national output and 5% of tax receipts. Small wonder that San Mig, as the company and its beer are known, was targeted in the 1980s, when Manila went after the assets of Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies. Since 1986, the government has sequestered 47% of San Miguel stock--a piece currently worth $1.2 billion.

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