By James A. Loyola
San Miguel Brewery Inc. is looking at the possibility of acquiring existing breweries or putting up a bigger brewery in Vietnam to boost its existing capacity in the country which has a per capita beer consumption that is more than double that of the Philippines.
In an interview after the firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting, SMBI Chairman Ramon S. Ang said that, “if we are putting up a new plant, it will have a capacity of at least 2 million hectoliters with an investment of about $70 million.”
Ang said SMBI already has a small plant in Ho Chi Minh but the capacity is only at 200,000 hectoliters.
“It just a quarter of our plant in Bacolod,” noted SMBI President Robert Huang.
“We have an over capacity in some countries, except Vietnam. That is why we are looking at some breweries that we can buy in the future,” added Huang.
Ang noted that, while the per capita consumption in the Philippines is about 19 liters of beer a year, in Vietnam, the figure is at around 44 liters.
He said they are currently conducting a market study and will begin construction of the plant as soon as the study is completed. The new plant will be built on the 200 hectare property where the first plant is also located.
Ang said SMBI will also continue to invest in the Philippines where there is also an uptrend in beer consumption.
“Along with expanding our capacities, we will increase availability and visibility of our brands in all trade channels, while pursuing cost improvements and operational efficiencies,” he said.
SMBI is committed to sustain the growth momentum it has built over the past years despite challenges posed by the implementation of higher excise taxes, stricter government policies on the environment, and possible regulations on alcohol consumption.