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June 2, 2008

San Miguel eyes projects in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar

Philippines beverage and food conglomerate San Miguel Corp is looking at possible investments in brewery and liquor production in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, encouraged by the growth of tourism in these countries, San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang was quoted by a local daily as saying.

The three countries consume at least 300,000 hectoliters of beer and other alcoholic beverages, Ang told the Daily Inquirer on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of San Miguel’s liquor arm, Ginebra San Miguel Inc.

"These markets are just opening,” he said. “There are no manufacturing facilities [for beer and liquor] in those markets." He added tourism was spurring economic growth in the three countries, which belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Countries, like the Philippines.

"Like in Angkor Wat [in Cambodia], foreign tourist arrivals in 2007 hit almost four million, compared with the Philippines' 2.7 million last year," Ang said.

He said San Miguel was in talks with potential partners, but declined to identify these.

Ginebra San Miguel reported Thursday that its revenues grew 14 percent to P3.4 billion in the first quarter.

It said demand was especially strong for its “Gran Matador” and “GSM Blue” brands, and aggressive distribution initiatives and promo activities helped to push volumes for the flagship brand “Ginebra San Miguel.”

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