PHILIPPINES: Cojuangco wins battle for SMC shares
The chairman of Philippines food and drinks group San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Eduardo Cojuangco has won a two-decade court battle with the government over a disputed share of the company.
The Asian food and drinks conglomerate said yesterday (27 November) that Eduardo Cojuangco has been awarded the 17.4% stake, equal to US$600m worth of stock, allowing him to sell his shares.
The dispute over ownership of San Miguel, the largest food and drinks group in the Philippines, goes back to 1987 when the government, through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), took control of Cojuangco's shares and those of groups he represents, alleging that they had been bought using funds designated for the development of the coconut industry. The disputed stakes represent nearly half of the equity in SMC.
The government has said it wants to sell a block of SMC shares the court awarded it next year after a final ruling on the ownership of the stake. Coconut farmers claiming rights to those shares have filed an appeal.
In its final decision yesterday, the anti-graft court said that the government had failed to prove allegations that Cojuangco used coconut levy funds to buy his shares in SMC, as well as a possible misuse of United Coconut Planters Bank funds. At the time Cojuangco took the loans, he was UCPB president.
Earlier this year, San Miguel announced plans to restructure its core businesses in the Philippines with the recent spin-off of its domestic beer operations.
The local offering of San Miguel's domestic brewing arm has been oversubscribed, according to reports....
San Miguel Corp. is looking to reduce its debt from funds raised by the planned IPO of its domestic beer unit....
San Miguel Brewery, the beer arm of Philippines-based food and drinks group, San Miguel Corp., has posted a 9.4% increase in net profit to PHP8bn (US$196.5m) for 2007....
San Miguel Corp. has lined up the flotation of its domestic beer unit for later this year, according to local reports....
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