Apr 032013

MANILA, Philippines – Given his busy schedule developing upscale membership clubs, business tycoon Roberto V. Ongpin is maintaining a passive stance while holding on to his shares in diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

The billionaire investor said he has big faith in the diversification strategies of the food-to-power conglomerate.

“I will be holding on to that (SMC shares),” Ongpin said in an interview.

“I am a great believer in SMC. I think (SMC president) Ramon Ang is one of the greatest managers,” he added.

As of end-2012, Ongpin’s investment vehicle in SMC, Top Frontier Investments Holdings Inc., alongside Ang, businessman Iñigo U. Zobel and condiments king Jose Y. Campos, is the single largest shareholder in the conglomerate with a 39.16-percent stake.

With Ang at the helm, Ongpin characterized his involvement in SMC as “passive.”

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To date, Ongpin is focused on his high-end property firm Alphaland Corp.

Alphaland’s projects under construction include the three-tower Alphaland Makati Place that will have a sports club, a mall and condominium units; the P4-billlion Balesin Island Club in Quezon province; and the P2-billion Alphaland Marina Club that will have 300 berths for boats of all sizes.

Alphaland president Mario Oreta said Ongpin even holds office and manages the day-to-day operations in the 500-hectare Balesin Island, the property firm’s flagship project that will have 300 villas in seven themed villages.

Alphaland still has a lot in its plate that will need the attention of Ongpin.

Oreta said the development of the P10-billion, 500-hectare Boracay Gateway will be timed with SMC’s expansion of the Caticlan airport.

The Alphaland Boracay Gateway leisure and tourism complex is adjacent to the Caticlan airport, which is the main gateway to the world-famous white sand beaches of Boracay Island.

Asked about the diversification projects of SMC, Ongpin said: “We are doing very well. Everything we do is good.”

From its core businesses that include food and beverage (San Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc.) and beer and liquor (San Miguel Brewery Inc. and Ginebra San Miguel Inc.), Ang has authored the expansion of SMC’s portfolio into power (SMC Global Power Corp.), petroleum (Petron Corp.), airline (Philippine Airlines) and various infrastructure projects nationwide.

Last year, SMC’s net income surged 57 percent to P27.6 billion. In 2011, profits of SMC sank 13 percent to P17.5 billion in the absence of non-recurring gains.

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