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San Miguel chairman sees 10%- 20% growth in coming years

If the government gets its way, Eduardo Cojuangco, head of one of the Philippines“ few true corporate jewels, will soon be out of a job.
The chairman of food and beverage group San Miguel Corp. beli…

If the government gets its way, Eduardo Cojuangco, head of one of the Philippines“ few true corporate jewels, will soon be out of a job. The chairman of food and beverage group San Miguel Corp. believes he“ll weather the storm and charm the market – and maybe even a hostile government – by maintaining yearly earnings growth of up to 20% in the medium-term. “It“s a tall order but I think we can do it,” said Cojuangco in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires. Since returning to the helm of San Miguel in 1998 after a 12-year absence, Cojuangco has overseen a startling transformation of the once debt-laden company. While the earnings of most Philippine blue chips were in a slump last year, San Miguel boosted net profit 25% and analysts believe it“s on track for another successful year. Cojuangco is credited with boosting sales, cutting costs, shoring up a rickety balance sheet and making a number of key acquisitions, including buying back Coca-Cola“s potentially lucrative bottling operations in the Philippines. “We are hoping to maintain a 10% to 20% growth rate every year,” said Cojuangco, noting the company“s growing market share in all its key areas of operation. Cojuangco believes the completion of its US$ 1.2 billion deal with Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. of Australia by mid-year, and impending acquisition of the Ayala Corp.“s food unit Pure Foods Corp, will significantly boost San Miguel“s food and beverage sales this year. Cojuangco hinted that once the Pure Foods acquisition is completed, San Miguel will likely take a breather from further acquisitions: “We should then take stock of what we have,” he said.

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