Po family to acquire RFM meat business

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 16 2012 07:50 AM | Updated as of Oct 16 2012 10:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Century Canning Corp. of the Po family has opted to acquire RFM Corp.’s meat business under the Swift brand, a move that will allow the group to beef up its presence in both the frozen and canned meat segments.

In an interview with The STAR, Century Canning owner Ricardo Po Sr. said the company is just threshing out some minor issues and is hopeful that a deal would be signed this week or next.

“The Concepcions and I have been good friends for many, many years. But we’ve decided that we will do it on our own (rather than enter into a joint venture). We feel that an acquisition is easier,” Po said.

RFM senior vice-president and chief financial officer Ramon Lopez said negotiations between the two groups are now in the final stages. “They’re just finalizing the terms of the deal,” Lopez said.

Po said they have somewhat agreed on the price they would acquire the Swift brand, which processes hotdogs, bacon, hams, corned beef, luncheon meat and sausages.

“The acquisition of Swift is expected to create synergy with our other food businesses. We will work hard to make it even stronger. We also hope to expand our market,” Po said.

Century Canning is the marine and tuna unit of the Century Pacific Group, one of the leading, fast-growing and widely diversified companies in the food industry. Its core business is the canning, marketing, and distribution of marine (tuna, sardine, and other sea foods), meat, and milk products under Century Tuna, Blue Bay, Fresca, Argentina, and 555. It also produces the Wow line prepared meals.

It is also into the canned milk business via Snow Mountain Dairy Corp. , which makes liquid and powdered milk under Angel and Birchtree brands.

The Po family is also engaged in the fastfood business via Yoshinoya.

Proceeds from the sale of the Swift brand will go directly to RFM, which is focused on further building up its leading branded consumer products like Selecta ice cream (a joint venture with multinational firm Unilever), Fiesta pasta and sauce, White King (cake mixes and flour-based products), Sunkist fruit juices and Selecta milk-based products.

Selecta, a dominant leader in the local ice cream industry with a 71 percent market share, has been performing above expectation particularly with the launch of the Magnum ice cream bar (the Belgian chocolate ice cream on stick) which has become a craze among the youth market.