San Miguel Corp's Ginebra San Miguel has paid PHP200m (US$4.6m) to acquire rival group East Pacific Star Bottlers Philippines, according to local reports.

Ginebra San Miguel has acquired all of the shares in East Pacific Star Bottlers Philippines, the Manila Bulletin reported today (30 January). It cited a stock market disclosure by the company. A San Miguel spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

The move marks consolidation in the Philippines spirits industry ahead of improved access to the market for foreign brands. In December last year, the World Trade Organisation ordered Philippines to reduce its tariffs on imported spirits from the European Union and US. 

Ginebra San Miguel has endured a tough year within the San Miguel Corp group. For the first nine months of its fiscal year, to the end of September, the spirits unit's net sales fell by 31% for the nine-month period, to PHP11.5bn. Ginebra San Miguel volumes fell by 34% to 19.2m cases, dropping the division into the red. Operating losses were PHP532m, versus profits of PHP1.2bn in the same period of 2010.