Metro Pacific scoops up premium ice cream maker Carmen’s Best | Inquirer Business

Metro Pacific scoops up premium ice cream maker Carmen’s Best

New agribusiness partnership with Magsaysay group includes milk, yogurt and cheese production
/ 04:10 AM June 28, 2022

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), the infrastructure and utilities giant led by businessman Manuel Pangilinan, previously announced plans to cool down from investing in certain highly regulated segments.

Its latest venture on Monday was a step in this direction as it announced a P198-million deal to take control of the 15-year-old premium ice cream and dairy businesses of Carmen’s Best Group, led by Francisco “Paco” Delgado Magsaysay, grandson of former president Ramon Magsaysay.

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MPIC, which owns toll roads, railways and utilities such as Manila Electric Co. and Maynilad Water Services, will take a 51-percent stake in the venture known as The Laguna Creamery Inc. The Magsaysay-led Carmen’s Best Group will keep the remaining 49 percent.

The group’s assets include Carmen’s Best Dairy Products, Inc., Carmen’s Best International Dairy Co. Inc. and Real Fresh Dairy Farms Inc. These, in turn, will be integrated into The Laguna Creamery.

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Carmen’s Best, named after Magsaysay’s daughter, is best known for its upscale ice cream products. The group also produces fresh milk, yogurt and artisanal cheeses.

Diversification to new growth areas

For Pangilinan, the foray into agribusiness creates a new avenue for growth for MPIC, which also operates private hospitals and the company that runs the Light Rail Transit Line 1 in Metro Manila.

Pangilinan told reporters on Monday they were keen on investing in more agribusiness ventures, especially those that were already operating.

“The integral business model for agri-ventures is a fully integrated one,” Pangilinan said.

“The requirement for an agribusiness model to be an enduring one is branding, marketing, selling and distribution of your own agri products,” he added.

MPIC also wants bigger exposure in the agricultural sector to “reduce the country’s dependence on food imports amid ongoing global supply chain disruptions and high inflation.”

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The Philippines currently imports nearly all of its annual dairy requirements.

“The agricultural sector presents a wide range of possibilities that can help us achieve several goals—to strengthen the food supply chain and augment the accessibility of resources for all Filipinos as well as provide more opportunities for growth in an otherwise underserved business,” Pangilinan said in a separate statement.

Magsaysay said their partnership with one of the country’s largest companies would be beneficial for his group.

“This union makes us appreciative that [Metro Pacific] sees the value of what we already built, while also elevating Carmen’s Best to a level beyond what we envisioned,” he said.

The parent firm of MPIC, the First Pacific Group owned by the billionaire Salim family of Indonesia, owns Indonesian food conglomerate PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk. First Pacific also owns Philippine-listed sugar producer, Roxas Holdings Inc. INQ

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TAGS: Business, MPIC
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