"I have a lot to be grateful for."
Yesterday, Nov. 25, was my 73rd birthday. It was also Thanksgiving Day.
After 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst pandemic in a century, I have a lot to be thankful for.
I thank God for my being alive and healthy. (Five to 10 percent of my classmates and members of my groups and associations died in the wake of the pandemic).
I am most grateful to God for my family, my children especially, Myra (who died in 2008), Ivy, Ranel, Noreen and Ciara. I thank God for my wonderful grandchildren—Enzo, Gio and Audrey, Anika, and Rafa and Nacho.
I thank God that I have a profession I can practice up to my dying day. I have been hugely successful as a journalist. Libel threats, harassment, death threats-- I got them all, like an SM mall. In equal measure as prizes and plaudits—like an SM mall.
Of countries with more than 100 million, the Philippines is the second most dangerous place in the world for journalists.
My weekly business magazine, BizNewsAsia, has been dominant in its market niche, from Day One, 21 years ago.
The pandemic shriveled many publications, large and small. Not BizNewsAsia. And not the Manila Standard for which I have been writing a column for at least the past five years.
Even as the pandemic raged, a number of companies supported BizNewsAsia. I am thankful to them, the CEOs of these very large companies, all of them dominant in their businesses.
Words and sentiment are inadequate to recompense the friendship, goodwill and generosity of friends, colleagues, mentors and patrons who have helped me all these years of my professional life. Thank you.
One CEO who has done a lot for the country is Ramon S. Ang, 67.
In 2007, he uncorked the largest, greatest and most diversified expansion ever by any Philippine company.
Today, San Miguel Corp. is the largest in eight major industries, including – beer (more than 90 percent share ), spirits, food, packaging, fuel and oil refining and marketing (more than 2,000 retail gas stations locally and 700 in Malaysia as of Sept. 30, 2021) and power generation (4,714 megawatts—20 percent of the National Grid, 27 percent the Luzon Grid, and 8 percent of the Mindanao Grid as of Sept. 30, 2021) and infrastructure; it is aggressively investing in airport development, battery energy storage and liquefied natural gas.
San Miguel has more than 787.54 kms of tollways—built, under construction, and planned. That is 75 percent of the tollways business and will connect north of Luzon to the south.
SMC is also in cement, real estate, banking, and car distributorship. Total SMC sales was equivalent to 4 percent of GDP in 2020.
In the first nine months of 2021, SMC tripled its net income to P34.2 billion on revenues of P650.6 billion which were up 22 percent. Operating income more than doubled, up 112 percent to P87.7 billion as it continues to closely manage costs and enhance supply chain efficiencies. EBITDA was up 41 percent to P118.1 billion.
If trends continue, SMC is on track to register more than P40 billion in 2021 profits on revenues of nearly P900 billion.
San Miguel’s game-changing Aerocity on 2,500 hectares of land on Bulakan, Bulacan will have a total cost P734 billion – to be built in three phases, and will initially service 35 million passengers per year, and will be known as the Manila International Airport (MIA). MIA will be a green aerotropolis.
SMC also has a 25-year concession to operate the Boracay airport. Next to it, the group plans a tourism beach hotel resort complex.
RSA has been fixated lately on green projects. SMC is spending P2 billion to dredge and clean Pasig River to allow it to channel floodwaters more effectively and allow for safer operations of water ferries. He is building the Pasig River Expressway which is the first privately-funded road network in the country that combines sustainability features with the functionality of a safe and efficient transport infrastructure.
SMC’s Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) will help improve power quality in the Philippine Grid System which will compensate for the intermittency of the variable power capacities. Easily scalable, the project will also make renewable energy more viable throughout the Philippines.
The Skyway Stage 3, meanwhile, will serve as a platform for the country’s first bus rapid transit system.
On going green in packaging, SMC explains:
“The returnable bottle system has been in place for most of our 131-year history of the company. In 2017, SMC ceased its bottled water business and maximized its returnable glass. effectively removing some 32 million plastic bottles a year, which would have ended up in landfills or bodies of water, had we continued the business. In the same year, we also launched our water for all program committing to reduce water consumption by 50 percent by 2025.”
“Reducing our impact on the environment and fostering social inclusion have been thoroughly ingrained in the San Miguel culture over the decades. Sustainability initiatives have been an integral part of San Miguel operations,” says SMC.
Founded in 1890 as a brewery, SMC owns a portfolio of companies neatly inwoven into the country’s economic fabric. The businesses benefit from and contribute to development and economic progress.
SMC believes that continuing its strategy and pursuing growth plans within each business will achieve a more diverse mix of sales and operating income, and better position for SMC to access capital, present different growth opportunities, and mitigate the impact of downturns and business cycles.
SMC employs 45,522 and operates more than 100 factories in Asia.
In addition, SMC contributes to the growth of downstream industries and sustains a network of hundreds of third-party suppliers. SMC exports its products to more than 60 countries.
Partnerships with major international companies have given SMC access to the latest technologies, expertise and best practices, thereby enhancing its status as a world- class organization.