The Philippines food and drinks combine, San Miguel Corp. (SMC), has said that it expects to reach its net profit target for 2003 of around PHP7 billion (US$127.7m) which would represent growth of 5.6% from the 2002 net profit figure of PHP6.63 billion.

However, the figure will fall below analysts' forecasts. A Reuters poll of analysts had put SMC's net income for 2003 at around PHP7.9 billion.

In addition to confirming its earlier guidance, the company's chairman and CEO, Eduardo Cojuangco, said that the company would soon be acquiring properties in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia with a view to developing wholly-owned manufacturing facilities as part of its expansion programme for south-east Asia.

San Miguel posted net income for the first half of 2003 of PHP3.05 billion, 2% up on the first half of 2002. The first half figures were pegged back by a poor second quarter when income dropped by 10%.