MANILA, Philippines – Newly-listed Del Monte Pacific Ltd. of condiments king Joselito D. Campos Jr. said it is not in negotiations with Japanese beverage giant Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. for a takeover.
“Neither Del Monte Pacific nor its controlling shareholder, NutriAsia Pacific Ltd., nor its representatives, are in discussions with Suntory, its shareholders or representatives,” the company said in a disclosure.
Shares of Del Monte Pacific, which implemented a temporary trading suspension, hit an intraday high of P27.05 on Friday before easing to P26.80, still up P1.13 compared with Thursday’s closing price.
Several reports came out that Suntory, the maker of Boss coffee and Orangina soda, is planning to acquire Del Monte Pacific.
Last month, Suntory completed Asia’s largest initial public offering so far this year.
The softdrinks unit of conglomerate Suntory Holdings Ltd. raised nearly $4 billion, beefing up its war chest for a $5-billion acquisition spree that is seen to help double sales by 2020.
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Del Monte Pacific, for its part, is the first company to list in both the Philippine and Singapore bourses. It is banking on increasing the footprint of its branded business here and abroad.
The 23,000-hectare plantation of Del Monte in Mindanao is the world’s largest fully-integrated pineapple operation with a 750,000-metric ton processing capacity. It was set up in 1926 by the US government because of the widespread pineapple disease in Hawaii.
Del Monte Pacific produces, markets and distributes food, beverages, and related products in the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian subcontinent, and has supply deals with Del Monte Pacific trademark owners and licensees around the world.
Principal shareholder NutriAsia leads the Philippine market for condiments (Datu Puti and UFC), specialty sauces (Jufran and Mang Tomas) and cooking oil (Golden Fiesta).
In the first quarter, Del Monte Pacific’s earnings inched up two percent to $4.5 million from a year ago. Turnover jumped 17 percent to $87.4 million driven by higher sales of the branded business in Asia, which is composed of Del Monte in the Philippines and the Indian subcontinent as well as S&W in Asia and the Middle East.