San Miguel selling Meralco stake to fund oil, gas ventures

MANILA, Philippines - Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. wants to sell its stake in power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) within the year to fund oil and gas ventures, Bloomberg reported Thursday, June 6.

Bloomberg quoted San Miguel President Ramon Ang as saying the group may sell its 32.8% stake in Meralco to raise money for its foray into oil and gas exploration.

The group owns about 370 million Meralco shares worth P142.5 billion, based on Bloomberg calculations.

Several parties have expressed their interest to buy the stake, said Ang.

San Miguel acquired bulk of its Meralco stake at P90 per share from state pension fund Government Service Insurance System in a surprise move late 2008. The purchase came as the company started to move away from its food and drinks business to heavy industries like oil refining, energy and infrastructure.

The company eyes new ventures in a bid to boost its revenues to $50 billion in 5 years.

Ang earlier said the company would need to raise $25 billion if it wanted to acquire an oil or natural gas field overseas. -