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August 13, 2008

Philippines’ San Miguel H1 profit soars

Philippines’ San Miguel Corp saw its net income soar to $444 million in the first half, due mainly to gains from asset sales, said Reuters on Tuesday.

The net income of 19.7 billion pesos ($444 million) in January to June topped the 6.6 billion pesos in the corresponding period in 2007 and its last year’s net profit of 8.63 billion pesos.

However, San Miguel, Southeast Asia’s largest food and drinks group which began diversifying out of its core food businesses last year to enter mining and power, faces a difficult operating environment in the second half due to high raw material costs and as rising fuel and food costs crimps consumer spending.

San Miguel’s first half results included gains of 5.67 billion pesos from asset sales in the first quarter, but the company did not say how much it made from the spin off and IPO of a 5 percent stake in its San Miguel Brewery unit in May, an offer worth $147 million.
The group’s first half revenues rose 9 percent to 79.8 billion pesos, with San Miguel Brewery revenues also rising by 9 percent to 23.8 billion pesos.

“Faced with challenging economic conditions affecting consumer spending behaviour and escalating input costs, we’re particularly encouraged by these results,” Reuters quoted San Miguel president Ramon Ang as saying in a statement.

In January, the San Miguel sold a 35 percent stake in its packaging unit for $130 million to Japan’s Nihon Yamamura Glass and also sold its 29.4 percent stake in unlisted property firm KSA Realty for 1.8 billion pesos to Shang Properties Inc.

San Miguel began divesting its core food and drinks operations last year, selling its biggest overseas business, Australian dairy and juice manufacturer National Foods, for $2.6 billion to Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings, as it prepared to enter heavy industry such as power, mining, and infrastructure. Kirin currently holds a fifth of San Miguel.

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