Feb 272013

MANILA, Philippines – Tycoon John Gokongwei Jr., named recently as an adopted son and honorary mayor of Bacolod City, is expanding his portfolio in the Visayas.

This as Universal Robina Corp. (URC), the food manufacturing arm of Gokongwei-led conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc., will add value to its sugar mills in the region.

Specifically, the company will put up an ethanol plant and power facilities in its sugar milling complexes in Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, respectively, and operate a newly-acquired sugar mill also in the province to support the region’s booming economy.

Gokongwei announced the projects last week in Bacolod, where he was named Honorary Mayor and Adopted Son by City Mayor Evelio Leonardia as part of the Bacolaodiat celebration of Chinese New Year.

To date, the conglomerate has three sugar mills in the Visayas: Manjuyod in Negros Oriental, Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental and Passi City in Iloilo.

“We recently bought a sugar mill in Tolong, Negros Oriental to add to our growing list of sugar mills,” said Gokongwei, chairman emeritus of JG Summit.

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“And we are still thinking of more ways to partner with the region in its progress,” he added.

URC is putting up ethanol and power plants using by products of sugar milling.

In January, URC secured shareholders’ approval to enter the power generation business for the first time through a $60-million power plant in its sugar mill that will start commercial operations in 2014.

Outside of business, the 86-year-old patriarch said the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation has partnered with the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos in Bacolod to support scholarships for students in the fields of management and engineering.

JG Summit’s property arm Robinsons Land Corp. was put up 15 years ago, making it a magnet for investments in Bacolod. It was the first mall venture of the Gokongweis outside Metro Manila.

JG Summit and Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. formed recently a joint venture company to formalize their tie-up for the expansion and operation of the P17.5-billion Mactan Cebu International Airport project.

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