The Philippine food and and beverage group, San Miguel Corp. (SMC), saw its net profit increase by 53% to PHP1.56 billion against the corresponding period last year when profit had been reduced by exceptional charges related to acquisitions. The net profit figure was more or less in line with analysts' forecasts which had ranged from PHP1.3 billion to PHP1.8 billion.

For the nine-month period, SMC's net income fell by 5% from PHP4.8 billion to PHP4.56 billion. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the nine months from January to September rose by 25% to PHP14.6 billion.

Third-quarter sales revenues reached PHP32.9 billion while nine-month net sales revenues stood at PHP99 billion. Analysts said the group was beginning to see the benefits from its recent acquisitions in the soft drinks and processed meat sectors.

Beer volumes at SMC, which has a 90% share of the Philippine beer market, increased by 24% in the third quarter against the third quarter of 2001. For the nine-month period, beer volumes were 8% ahead.

In soft drinks, SMC's joint venture with Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Bottlers, posted a 56% gain in third-quarter operating income to PHP208m. Cosmos Bottling Corp., the second biggest soft drinks producer in the Philippines which SMC bought in January, registered operating income of PHP86m for the quarter.