MANILA, October 7, 2004 (STAR) By Zinnia B. Dela Peña - Food and beverage giant San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is expanding its existing alcohol distillery in Negros Occidental in line with its massive expansion and modernization program, company officials said in a statement yesterday.

The expansion of the distillery operated by Ginebra San Miguel Inc. subsidiary Distileria Bago Inc. is intended to meet the growing demand for hard liquor products both here and abroad.

Apart from this, SMC will build an alcohol distillery in Misamis Oriental.

The plant which will be built over a 100-hectare property that SMC will lease from the Phividec Industrial Estate, is expected to produce up to 75,000 liters of hard liquor per day.

SMC said production from the distillery will largely support the export operations of GSMI.

GSMI reported a 2,200 percent increase in exports in the first six months of the year, bringing its year to date income to P1.086 billion or an improvement of five percent from the previous level.

SMC is also expanding and modernizing further its breweries in Polo, Valenzuela and in San Fernando, Pampanga to tap the expected continuing uptrend in beverage consumption.

Anticipating significant growth in the Philippine economy, SMC has set aside P15 billion for the establishment of new food facilities this year up to 2006.

Of the P15 billion programmed capital budget, P5 billion has been earmarked for the development of feed mill plants in Bataan and Misamis Oriental, a broiler farm in Bulacan as well as hog farms in Bukidnon and Tarlac where San Miguel is also setting up a pet food plant and a veterinary medicine facility.

SMC will likewise put up an industrial park in Laguna to house the conglomerate’s manufacturing plants for value-added food products.

Moreover, SMC is scheduled to inaugurate this year its Pure Foods Hormel Plant in Cavite as well as two Pure Foods facilities in Batangas, a flour mill and flour blending facility.

SMC chairman and chief executive officer Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco said the domestic expansion will not only allow the company to aggressively pursue new opportunities and potentials within its core businesses but also stimulate local growth and help propel the Philippines towards further growth.

Cojuangco said a significant portion of SMC’s expansion will be in the countryside, helping generate employment and livelihood particularly in the rural areas.

To drive efficiencies and maximize synergies, SMC is pursuing highly integrated agro-industrial zones as its growth model. Once in full operation, these zones, which are near abundant sources of raw materials, will link with San Miguel’s manufacturing and distribution channels that are being reengineered to ensure the lowest possible cost for the company’s products.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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