Announcing its first quarter results San Miguel Corp, the Manila-based food and beverage company said its net income of P1.54 billion ($30m) an increase of 24% over the same period in 1999, reflected the effectiveness of the strategies and operational improvements earlier identified by SMC management.

As a result of broader distribution, productivity enhancements and continuing cost containment initiatives according to SMC it also reported its operating income had jumped 22% from P1.48 billion ($29m) to P1.81 billion ($35.8m).

In a statement the company said that volumes for most of SMC's domestic businesses performed favourably during the first three months of the year, with domestic beer and liquor sales up combined with strong overall volume growth in both the packaging and food businesses. Consolidated net sales amounted to P19.1 billion ($37.7m), plus 9% over P18.3 billion ($36m) last year.

Domestic beer sales revenue for the first quarter also increased, by 14% to P8.02 billion ($15.8m) while volumes grew by 6%. Operating income reached P1.3 billion ($2.5m), up 18% from a year ago. And Beer International showed signs of a sustained turnaround in performance as the various brand building and rationalisation activities earlier initiated started to bear fruit.

Operating losses for the first quarter dropped by 82% from $7.6m in 1999 to $1.4m this year.

La Tondena Distillers, Inc.'s net income for the first quarter amounted to P369.2m ($7.3m), a 125% increase from P164.2m ($3.2m) in 1999. Operating income rose by 48% from P472m last year to P699m ($13.8m) and sales revenue grew by 36% from P2.4 billion ($47m) to P3.2 billion $63m). Hard liquor volumes grew 26%, "due to greater distribution levels though San Miguel's beer's trade network," the company said.

And despite intensified competition from lower priced water filling stations, bottled water volumes surged 68%, and juice volumes increased by 17%.