CONGLOMERATE San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said it is planning to expand its operations in Vietnam, mainly its beer business, as the drinking per capita of the Southeast Asian country is now more than double that of the Philippines.
Ramon S. Ang, chairman of San Miguel Brewery Inc., said ideally the company would like to build a 2-million hectoliter brewery in Vietnam, possibly in its 200-hectare property in Ho Chi Minh.
“But we are still studying our options,” Ang said at the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.
Ang said if the company is to build the plant of that capacity, it would have to invest $70 million for the venture. The amount is cheaper compared when the venture is made in the Philippines that may amount to P7 billion to P8 billion per brewery.
Roberto N. Huang, SMB president said, the company needs to expand its current capacity of about 250,000 hectoliters as Vietnamese drinkers already overtook the drinking capacity of those in the Philippines.
Filipino per capita is just 19 liters of beer compared that of Vietnam’s 44 liters.
Huang, meanwhile, said the company is waiting for the report of its team sent to the US to look into the possibility of putting up a US brewery. He said the team composed of a master brewer and an engineer left last week to look into the site in Los Angeles, California.
“It’s not just a matter of knowing the capacity, but talk with people if a brewery can be put up there, and if they don’t have any complaint,” he said.
“But we are still concentrating on the Philippines as only 10 percent of the business comes from overseas,” he said.
Ang said with the stronger Philippine economy, its next phase of expansion becomes even more critical.
“By the end of this year, we will inaugurate our sixth brewery located in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. By next year, the conversion of our Santa Rosa bottling plant into a full-fledged brewery will also be completed,” he said.