Philippines’ San Miguel eyes share offer for brewery

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* Says in talks with Kirin on San Miguel Brewery share sale
* Plans to put up breweries in Laos, Cambodia
* To open 4 additional bottling plants in Philippines (Recasts, adds comments after stockholders’ meeting)

MANILA, May 31 (Reuters) – Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp said on Tuesday it was talking to Japanese partner Kirin Holdings about a secondary share offer for their San Miguel Brewery unit this year to increase its public float.

San Miguel Brewery is the Philippines’ most valuable listed firm. San Miguel Corp owns 51 percent and Kirin owns 48.4 percent, leaving a free float of 0.6 percent, according to stock exchange data.

The Philippine Stock Exchange has ordered listed firms to increase public ownership to 10 percent.

“We will do it just to comply with the PSE requirement,” San Miguel president Ramon Ang told reporters before the brewer’s annual shareholders’ meeting. He said the share offer was planned for this year, but did not indicate a size.

Speaking after the meeting, Ang said San Miguel was in talks with Kirin about the share sale plan.

“There is a possibility that we will put together our shares,” he said.

Ang also said San Miguel Brewery was planning to build breweries in Laos and Cambodia, each with a capacity of about 500,000 hectolitres, as it seeks new markets.

San Miguel Brewery, which makes nine out of every 10 beers sold in the Philippines, also plans to put up four bottling plants in its home market at a cost about $100 million, as it seeks to expand bottling capacity by around 30 percent.

The additional plants, each with a capacity of 30 million cases a year, will help reduce logistics cost, Ang said.

Earlier this month, he said San Miguel Corp was considering selling stakes in its power and food subsidiaries as it seeks to raise more funds to invest in new ventures, and to meet the minimum public float requirement. [ID:nL3E7GD1K0]

The conglomerate recently sold $900 million worth of shares and bonds, partly to lift its public float.[ID:nSGE744008]

San Miguel has dominated the local food and beverage industry for decades, but recently has added power, mining, telecommunications, oil refining and infrastructure to its stable of businesses. (Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Rosemarie Francisco)