JoeCon makes comeback via RFM’s chicken unit
- Christina Mendez, Conrado Diaz Jr. () - February 27, 2003 - 12:00am
The spin-off of RFM Corp.’s poultry and agribusiness unit into a new subsidiary called Swift Foods Inc. will mark the comeback of former Trade and Industry Secretary Jose S. Concepcion Jr. (JoeCon) into active business management as he will be taking over as SFI’s chairman and CEO.

The post, currently held by his son Jose A. Concepcion III, will enable the former Cabinet member – who has a degree in agriculture – to flex his business savvy in implementing SFI’s new strategy of reshaping and focusing on poultry and agricultural development after the company transferred its entire meat processing business to its parent firm RFM in October last year.

"I believe he is in the best position to lead the organization towards the attainment of its vision," the younger Concepcion said. After JoeCon left public service, he became active in private sector initiatives aimed at developing various industrial sectors, as well as in civic and regional non-governmental organizations.

For his part, Concepcion III said his tasks in RFM (as president and CEO) will now require him to focus his time and attention on the building of brands in selected food and beverage categories.

RFM has taken over the meat processing business of SFI including all rights, interests and ownership of SFI over its assets, except the parcel of land and the manufacturing plant in Cabuyao, Laguna, with an approximate value of P271 million.

The transfer was made in view of the prolonged labor strike at SFI’s meat processing plant. The strike, which has been going on since November 2001, has prevented the company from carrying on its manufacturing business, as well as the marketing, distributing and selling of its products.

The spin-off involved the declaration of a property dividend to all RFM shareholders in the form of SFI shares, which would make them direct owners of 96.44 percent of the publicly-listed poultry company.

As a result, RFM will directly assume the business of processed chilled and canned meat products, by acquiring SFI’s corollary business of marketing, distributing and selling of processed chilled and canned meat products carrying the Swift brand.

This, in turn will further strengthen RFM’s core Branded Food Group which conducts all the branded businesses of RFM (including manufacturing, marketing, distribution and selling) which includes White King flour mixes, Fiesta pasta, Sunkist juice and powder drinks, Saucy Mi noodles, Aqua bottled water and the Selecta ice cream and milk drinks.

"There is a tremendous potential in the new poultry business model of SFI, using a more cost-efficient sourcing strategy, and a targetted product-market strategy," Concepcion III added.

Recently, SFI has been reshaping its competitive strategy in the Philippine poultry sector, which has been adversely affected by the continuing influx of low-priced imported chicken products, as well as the relatively higher cost of local corn production, the main raw material for chicken feed.

SFI is also in the middle of shifting a good part of its production capacities to low-cost producing regions like Mindanao and Cagayan Valley and is currently developing further its high value-added product lines like marinated cut-ups and lean meats, as well as exportable product lines.

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