San Miguel plans to venture into rice importation

Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it plans to venture into rice trading, once the proposed Rice Tariffication Law is approved in a bid to help the government achieve food security.

San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in an interview at the sidelines of San Miguel Food and Beverage’s special stockholders meeting the company was planning to engage in rice importation using the existing grains terminals to handle the shipments.

“If there is a law allowing us to venture into this business, we can get into that and quickly we can do it,” Ang said.

Ang said the company could put up an extra silo or storage in existing grains facilities in Bataan and Batangas for rice imports. He said the company could also use its feed mill and other food facilities in Davao, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Pangasinan and Quezon.

“We can easily help in stabilizing the price of rice in the country,” Ang said.

Ang said the Rice Tariffication bill could help local farmers, as proceeds from the tariff collection could be plowed back to improve the competitiveness of the sector and raise farmers’ incomes.

The proposed bill aims to amend Republic Act No. 8178, or the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996 to replace the quantitative restrictions on rice imports with tariff.  

Rice importation, which is currently being controlled by state-run National Food Authority, will then be opened up to private traders.

Meanwhile, Ang said he was confident SMFB would be able to conduct its P142-billion share sale this year despite current market conditions.

Ang said SMFB already started an international roadshow for the planned follow-on offering and the feedback from investors was positive.

“Investors like companies with stable cash slow with big market share in food and beverage category. So even with the situation in manila, we are confident that we can place out the shares,” Ang said.

Ang said the final terms of the planned share sale would be revealed in the next few months.

Under the plan, SMFB will sell 887 million secondary shares owned by parent company San Miguel Corp. and another 133 million shares to cover over allotment at an offer price of up to P140 per share.

Ang said proceeds from the offering would be used to create projects and generate jobs.

Topics: San Miguel Corp. , rice importation , Rice Tariffication Law , Ramon Ang
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