MPIC enters strategic partnership with Carmen’s Best Group

MANILA, Philippines — Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) has entered into a strategic partnership with the Carmen’s Best Group in line with diversifying its investment portfolio to include the agriculture sector.

In a press briefing yesterday, the company announced the strategic partnership with Carmen’s Best Dairy Products Inc., Carmen’s Best International Dairy Co. Inc., Real Fresh Dairy Farms Inc., and The Laguna Creamery Inc. (collectively Carmen’s Best Group) to further develop and expand the operations of its dairy farm and dairy products manufacturing facilities.

Under the transaction, Carmen’s Best Group will integrate its assets and operations into The Laguna Creamery Inc. (TLCI), of which MPIC will acquire 51 percent of its outstanding shares for P198 million.

“The acquisition will be implemented through a combination of secondary shares acquired from certain shareholders of TLCI and primary shares that will be issued by TLCI to MPIC or an affiliate designated by MPIC,”said MPIC.

After the transaction, TLCI will become a subsidiary of MPIC. The Carmens’ Best Group will retain a 49 percent equity interest.

The Carmen’s Best Group is behind the home-grown premium ice cream brand, Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, and the country’s only locally pasteurized and homogenized fresh milk, Holly’s Milk. It operates a dairy farm where it also produces artisanal cheese under the Carmen’s Best Natural Cheese and Holly’s brands.

MPIC said the transaction is being carried out pursuant to MPIC’s plan to diversify its investment portfolio to include the agricultural sector, adding that it presents a growth opportunity for the company.

Earlier this year, MPIC announced that it was to seeking to ramp up investments in the agricultural sector and reduce the country’s dependence on food imports amid ongoing global supply chain disruptions and high inflation.

The transaction presents a significant growth opportunity for MPIC and the Philippines, as the country currently imports 99 percent 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. Ultimately, the country should aim for substantial independence in food. And we must feed our people first,” MPIC chairman, president and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

Both companies said they envision transforming TLCI into a fully integrated dairy business, serving local demand and eventually competing globally.

“Carmen’s Best has always had family at the heart of its brand – from the humble beginnings of my father and his friend’s dairy farming project, to the touch of creativity I added to turn it into a modest ice cream business,” said Francisco Delgado Magsaysay.

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

In line with its push for agricultural investments, Pangilinan said the company is on a lookout for other agriventure possibilities.

Asked what route the company will take in pursuing other agricultural investments whether strategic partnerships or greenfield projects, Pangilinan said the company is interested in existing operations such as the Carmen’s Best Group.

However, he stressed that they are not close minded to green field agriculture projects.

MPIC said the venture into agribusiness affirms its resolve to be the largest catalyst for a Sustainable Philippines to contribute to national progress and help improve the lives of Filipinos. It is also aligned with the company’s efforts to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

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