Jan 062015
San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / LEO M. SABANGAN II

San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / LEO M. SABANGAN II

THE GLOBAL economic environment would make 2015 a challenging year for Philippine companies, which could also face headwinds from the specter of a property bubble on the local front, San Miguel Corp. president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang warned yesterday.

Despite this, the country’s biggest conglomerate—with some P1.6 trillion worth of assets in its portfolio—plans to accelerate its investment plan over the next three years even as other business groups take their foot off the gas pedal while waiting for clearer signals ahead of next year’s presidential elections.

“Over the next two or three years, our combined capital expenditures will reach about P360 billion across the entire group,” Ang said during an annual interview where he sets out San Miguel group’s strategy.

He hinted at expansion plans in new lines of business, but declined to reveal them, saying that rivals and competitors were closely watching San Miguel’s moves.

Ang said, however, that all existing business units would see additional investments to help them grow and widen their market footprint locally and overseas.

“We will carry  on with our expansion plans in all sectors, from our oil refineries, gas stations, the petrochemical business, power generation, infrastructure, mining and our traditional businesses like food, beer, our hard liquor business, and our packaging business,” he said.

On top of San Miguel’s list is an aggressive expansion program for Petron Malaysia, which will see the third-largest petroleum firm in that country boost its oil refining and distribution businesses.

In particular, the planned upgrade of Petron Malaysia’s existing refinery will entail an investment of at least $1.5 billion, while its 560-strong gasoline station network will be boosted by another $500 million in a spending program spanning three years.

This will boost Petron Malaysia’s distribution footprint by anywhere between 100 and 150 gasoline stations and closing the gap between first- and second-ranked Petronas and Shell in that country.

The Philippine-based Petron Corp., meanwhile, will spend as much as $600 million over the same timeframe for the “fine-tuning” of its recently completed refinery expansion program. This will also be used to expand the firm’s activities in the petrochemical industry.

Ang said that San Miguel’s power-generation business was also bent on building more plants and completing those that were under way. These include the 900-megawatt plant in Limay, Bataan, the 300-MW plant in Davao and another in Santander, Cebu, which will initially have a generating capacity of 300 MW but would eventually be expanded to 600 MW.

All these plants would be powered by “clean coal technology,” he said.
Ang added that the group’s aggressive foray into the infrastructure sector, particularly the tollroad business, would begin benefiting local motorists soon with the expected completion of the Naia Expressway in December 2015.

Also being accelerated is the third phase of the Skyway connector road. The first and second segments will be completed before the end of President Aquino’s term in mid-2016 while the third and fourth segments will be completed in 2017.

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