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6 May 2009

Philippine brewer to diversify into toll road business

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Philippines firm San Miguel Corp said Tuesday it plans to acquire a stake in a 312.5 million-dollar toll road project as part of a strategy to diversify from its core brewing business, reported AFP.

San Miguel, the country's biggest private employer and Southeast Asia's largest food and beverage company, said it is interested in the 88.5-kilometre (55-mile) Tarlac-La Union Expressway project, which is due to start this year.

"We confirm that the company is in talks with DMCI Holdings to explore potential participation in the Tarlac-La Union Expressway Project," San Miguel said in a disclosure statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

San Miguel is now "conducting due diligence but no agreement has been reached," it added. Listed DMCI Holdings is a partner in a consortium called Private Infrastructure Development Corp., which won a government concession to build and operate the toll highway.

The road would provide a seamless land link between Manila and the northern Philippines. Press reports say San Miguel wants to acquire a 49 percent stake, with the aim of possibly increasing its holding to 51 percent.

San Miguel's diversification has also seen it acquire a minority stake in top power distributor Manila Electric Co. and an option to buy a majority stake in local oil refiner Petron Corp. It has also announced plans to venture into telecommunications, mining, and water utilities.









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