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Philippines' San Miguel plans US$2.7b share sale in food unit; shares soar

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Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp said on Thursday it is selling a US$2.7 billion stake in its food and beverage unit San Miguel Food and Beverage Inc, sending shares of the two companies soaring to multi-year highs.

[MANILA] Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp said on Thursday it is selling a US$2.7 billion stake in its food and beverage unit San Miguel Food and Beverage Inc, sending shares of the two companies soaring to multi-year highs.

The share sale is part of the parent firm's asset restructuring plan announced last year to inject its food and beverage assets valued at 336 billion pesos (S$8.6 billion) into the unit by way of a share swap.

San Miguel Corp said on Thursday it is seeking regulatory approval to sell up to 1.02 billion shares in the food unit at 140 peso each, or a 75 per cent premium to Wednesday's closing price of 80 peso.

Shares of San Miguel Corp rose 7.5 per cent to their highest since 2011, while shares of San Miguel Food and Beverage shot up 13 per cent to their highest since 2012, outpacing the broader index's 1.8 per cent gain in the morning trades.

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San Miguel Corp said it will make further disclosures when the offer price is finalised.

"Our principal long-term goal is to further strengthen and solidify our position as the leading food and beverage company in the Philippines," the company said.

San Miguel officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In an interview with Reuters last month, San Miguel President Ramon Ang said the food and beverage unit was on track to sell up to US$3 billion worth of shares in the fourth quarter despite recent market volatility.

San Miguel Food and Beverage hired JPMorgan, UBS, Deutsche Bank, BDO Capital and BPI Capital for the share sale, which is expected to increase the company's public float from the current 4.12 per cent, it said.

REUTERS