November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

SMC acquires Australian wine bottling facility

DIVERSIFIED conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is strengthening its presence in Australia with the acquisition of a wine bottling and packaging facility in Barossa Valley.

In a statement issued Thursday, the listed firm said its international packaging unit San Miguel Yamamura Packaging International Ltd. (SMYPIL), acquired Barossa Bottling Services Pty Ltd. through its Australian subsidiary, San Miguel Yamamura Australasia Pty Ltd.

Established in 2002, Barossa Bottling operates as a specialist independent contract wine bottling and packaging facility based in Nurioopta, Barossa Valley -- a wine-producing region northeast of Adelaide in South Australia. It has become a niche provider of bottling and packaging services to various wineries in the Australia, according to the company’s Web site.

“We remain bullish on the Australasian market and will continue to look for bigger and better opportunities in that region. In the meantime, our Philippine operations will continue to expand to meet growing domestic and export demands,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang was quoted as saying in the statement.

Barossa marks SMYPIL’s fifth acquisition in the packaging business in the Australia and New Zealand region. In February this year, the company announced it acquired Portavin Holdings Pty. Ltd., which is engaged in the bottling of wine, as well as trading and distribution of packaging products in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

SMC’s packaging unit also purchased in 2016 the assets of Auckland-based Endeavour Glass Packaging Ltd. which specializes in providing packaging solutions to the wine, beverage and food industries.

In 2015, the firm bought the assets of Vinocor, considered the market leader in terms of supplying corks and closures for wine bottles in Australia.

“With this new acquisition (Barossa), SMC’s packaging group expects the contribution of its Australian and New Zealand businesses to be close to 300 million Australian dollars,” SMC said.

This year, SMC announced plans to triple its net income to P150 billion by 2020, following earnings of P52 billion in 2016.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Ang unveiled plans to enter the conglomerate’s third phase of expansion, which will mark SMC’s entry into electronics manufacturing. The executive noted that this would yield high margins for the company, likening the expansion to that of South Korean electronics giant Samsung.

SMC has continued its growth since diversifying from a food and beverage company to include infrastructure, energy, and fuel and oil.

For the first quarter of 2017, SMC delivered a net income of P13.82 bilion, 2.13% higher than its earnings of P13.54 billion in the same period in 2016. Revenues, meanwhile, went up by 23% year on year to P195.8 billion.

Shares in SMC showed a 0.39% uptick on Thursday, adding 40 centavos to close at P103.40 each at the stock exchange. -- Arra B. Francia