The Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue is pursuing the country's drinks and food conglomerate San Miguel Corp for 1.2 billion pesos (US$21.56m) in back taxes, BusinessWorld has quoted BIR chief Guillermo Parayno as saying.

The taxes are the result of sales in 1999 of San Mig Light, which the BIR last year reclassified as a "variant" of San Miguel Pale Pilsen. According to Philippine tax codes, a variant of a brand is taxed based on the highest tax classification.

However, San Miguel continues to argue that San Mig Light was a new product and therefore should be taxed at a lower rate.