San Miguel in Talks for More Acquisitions in Energy, Telecoms

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MANILA, Philippines - San Miguel Corp., the Philippines' biggest company, is in talks to make "several big acquisitions," including two businesses with a combined revenue of $6 billion that may be purchased this year.

"Our appetite is still quite strong" for acquisitions, President Ramon Ang said in an interview yesterday, three weeks after announcing a $500-million airline investment. The two companies that may be bought this year are in the energy and telecommunications industries and operate in Asia, he said, declining to elaborate further.

San Miguel has expanded from food and drinks to industries including oil, power and infrastructure to meet a target of doubling sales. Buying almost half of Philippine Airlines Inc. and low-cost affiliate Air Philippines Corp. will boost San Miguel's sales this year to almost $20 billion, at least three years ahead of target, Ang, 58, said in an interview in Manila.

The Philippines' most acquisitive company "sees more lucrative businesses that's why it continues to realign its portfolio," Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance Inc., said by phone yesterday.

San Miguel owns the Southeast Asian nation's largest oil company, Petron Corp., and is the biggest electricity producer. It bought most of Esso Malaysia Bhd in March, a month before it announced the stake purchase in the carriers owned by tycoon Lucio Tan.

The company, which started as a brewer eight years before the Philippines declared independence from Spain, seeks to boost sales to $30 billion by 2017, Ang said. The company is expanding into heavy industries to triple the return it previously earned from food and drinks. …