Local RC Cola firm eyes IPO | Inquirer Business

Local RC Cola firm eyes IPO

Plans sale of 30% equity ‘hopefully’ within 2013
/ 11:55 PM February 19, 2013

The Philippine maker of American soft drink RC Cola is making plans to debut on the local stock exchange to fund a regional expansion program.

Asiawide Refreshments Corp. (ACR), which holds an exclusive license from RC Cola USA to manufacture and distribute RC Cola in the Philippines, may soon sell a mix of primary and secondary shares equivalent to at least 30 percent of post-initial public offering (IPO) stocks “hopefully” within this year, according to businessman Alfredo Yao.

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Yao, owner and founder of the Zest-O group, controls 80 percent of ACR. Based on the company’s website, other business partners are entrepreneurs Tony Panajon, Gerry Garcia, Butch Aves and Ricky Sandoval.

The businessman said the IPO size would be “definitely bigger” than that of Philippine Business Bank, which raised P3.2 billion from a primary share sale and listed outstanding stocks on the Philippine Stock Exchange Tuesday.

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ACR likewise held the license to manufacture and distribute RC Cola across Southeast Asia, Yao said. New RC Cola plants might be put up in Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, Yao said at the sidelines of the listing of Philippine Business Bank.

“Even here (in the Philippines) we’re expanding. We have just opened our Cagayan de Oro plant. We’ll be opening next week our Pangasinan plant and construction (of a new plant) is ongoing on Panay Island,” Yao said. This will bring to 14 plants RC Cola’s manufacturing footprint in the Philippines.

Asked why the RC Cola unit would go public ahead of flagship Zest-O, Yao said it was easier to convince business partners than family members to bring a privately held company public. In the case of Zest-O, it might take awhile because there was “sentimental value” involved, he said. Having said that, the group has yet to mandate an investment bank to arrange the prospective offering.

Investment banker Jojo Dispo, president of First Metro Investment Corp., said the Zest-O group might be “saving the best for last” in pursuing RC Cola’s stock listing ahead of Zest-O’s.

He also noted that RC Cola’s expansion in the region was all “in sync with the Asean trade integration,” referring to the planned creation of a unified Southeast Asian market by 2015.

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