San Miguel readies for food business stake sale estimated to fetch $1.5b

San Miguel
A shopper picks up a package of San Miguel Pure Foods Co.'s bacon at a supermarket in Manila, the Philippines. Photographer: Edwin Tuyay/Bloomberg

San Miguel Corp., the biggest Philippine company by revenue, has asked investment banks to pitch for a role in a planned sale of shares in its listed food business this year, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The conglomerate is expected to appoint advisers as soon as the end of this month, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The offering of San Miguel Pure Foods Co. stock could raise around $1.5 billion, though the exact size is still under discussion, the people said.

San Miguel President Ramon Ang said in a mobile phone text message Tuesday he confirms the information, without elaborating. A share sale would boost Pure Foods’s public float after a deal combining San Miguel’s food, beer and liquor businesses under a single publicly-traded company, the people said. Pure Foods will be worth an estimated $9 billion to $10 billion following that transaction, Ang said in November.

A $1.5 billion offering would be the largest ever equity deal in the Philippines, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It would take the crown from the so-called re-IPO of billionaire Lucio Tan’s holding company LT Group Inc., which raised about $912 million in 2013, the data show.

Deliberations are at an early stage, and details of the potential transaction could change, the people said.

Bloomberg