The Philippines spirits group, La Tondena, recorded net sales of PHP15.31 billion (US$300m) in 2001, a rise of more than 8% from the previous year. The company, a division of the San Miguel Corporation, posted net income of PHP1.88 billion for 2001, against PHP1.35 billion for 2000, as a result of an extraordinary gain from the disposal of its bottled water and fruit juice activities.

The company did not disclose how much it raised from the sale of its non-liquor businesses but analysts estimated it was in the region of PHP6 billion.

The 8% rise in sales was attributed to the continued dominance in the northern Philippine market of its flagship brand, Ginebra San Miguel. The company also reported healthy uptake for two new products, GSM Blue and Kulafu 35, in the southern Philippines. La Tondena forecast continued growth in 2002, aided by its sharper focus on the liquor sector.

"We shall go all out in our campaign to conquer new markets, launch new products and win new customers," said La Tondena president, Arnaldo Africa. The company plans to launch new products aimed at both the premium-priced sector and the young adult market.