Setting aside the political issues on how SMC, the country’s largest food and beverage company ended up with Danding Cojuangco, the current news of his selling his shares to his second-in-command Ramon Ang, tells you something of the special relationship between both people. And for any foreigner wanting to do business in the country it is important to realise relationships is a key success factor in establishing a business in the country.
Manila, Philippines – Fourteen years after reclaiming the helm at San Miguel Corp. (SMC) in 1998, businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. formally relinquished his remaining stake in the diversifying conglomerate in favor of long-time ally and concurrent SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
The sale involved a total of 493.4 million shares sold at P75 each or a total of P37 billion. The shares were crossed at the stock exchange yesterday.
In a statement, Cojuangco said he sold his 11 percent stake in SMC to Ang on friendly terms. He, however, will remain as chairman and CEO of the company.
The shares which were sold to Ang originally formed part of the block of shares to be divested to Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc. under a 2009 share option agreement.
Top Frontier, whose key players include former Trade Minister Roberto V. Ongpin, condiments king Joselito Campos and businessman Iñigo Zobel, decided to partially exercise the option with the purchase of around 3.7-percent stake of San Miguel.
With the purchase, Ang now owns 368.517 million shares in SMC.
The 77-year old Cojuangco described Ang as “a person in whom I have full trust and confidence and rightfully deserves utmost recognition for transforming the company into a highly diversified and profitable business conglomerate.”
“From the time I requested Ramon to join me in the company, he has continuously dedicated one hundred percent of his time and effort in ensuring the growth of the San Miguel Group to the benefit of its shareholders,” Cojuangco said.
Ang has been instrumental in shifting SMC from its dominant food and beverage businesses into vital and heavy industries such as power, fuel and oil, infrastructure, mining, telecommunications, airlines and airports.
SMC is targeting to rake in P1 trillion in sales by 2013, or double its 2011 level, as recent acquisitions and investments start to contribute to earnings.
Ang, for his part, has committed to continuously propel the growth of the company.
“Mr. Cojuangco offered the balance of the option shares to me and I accepted primarily for the following reasons: the San Miguel vision set by management during my term is far from being achieved, and; I have a continuing commitment to ECJ, the company’s stakeholders and the employees to see through the realization of this vision in the near future,” Ang said.
Cojuangco, who underwent a medical procedure in the United States in 2010 to correct an abnormal heart rhythm, said with Ang at the helm, he can now devote more time to his personal endeavors.
The sale ended years of long drawn-out battle with post-Marcos era administrations claiming Cojuangco’s stake was ill-gotten.
The Supreme Court in an earlier ruling finally declared Cojuangco as the true owner of the San Miguel shares.
The share sale also consolidates power in the hands of Ang and Top Frontier, which now owns around 60 percent of SMC.