The chairman of San Miguel Corp. has denied that he is selling his stake in the company.

Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., who is also the company's chief executive, has dismissed reports in a Manila newspaper over the weekend, that he and Manuel Pangilinan, managing director and chief executive of Hong Kong's First Pacific Co. and chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., are negotiating for the sale of Cojuangco's shareholdings in San Miguel.

In a statement, Cojuangco said: "I categorically deny that I have been in talks with Mr. Pangilinan to sell my 20% stake in San Miguel. The story has no basis in fact."

Cojuangco is still locked in a legal battle with the Philippine Government over ownership of the San Miguel stake. The Government claims that Cojuangco, an ally of disgraced former President Ferdinand Marcos, acquired the San Miguel stake using funds intended for the development of the coconut industry.

The anti-graft court has yet to decide on who rightfully owns the San Miguel stake, but in 1998 the Supreme Court allowed Cojuangco voting rights over the shares.

The Government holds a 28% stake in the conglomerate.