Ginebra San Miguel has said that it will run its newly-acquired East Pacific Star Bottlers Philippines as a separate company. 

The Philippines firm confirmed today (2 February) that it has closed its purchase of rival East Pacific for PHP200m (US$4.68m), or PHP100 per share. However, while East Pacific is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ginebra San Miguel, it will remain as a separate company. 

"Operations of both companies will continue to be managed independently of each other, on an arms-length basis," said the spirits division of San Miguel Corp. Prior to the deal, East Pacific was already bottling some Ginebra San Miguel products.

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 the Philippines to reduce its tariffs on imported spirits from the European Union and US. 

Ginebra San Miguel endured a tough year in 2011. 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.