August 18, 2022

San Miguel Boss Ang to Start Airport Construction, Eyes Airline

(Bloomberg) — San Miguel Corp. will start work this month for a Philippine airport that’s scheduled to start servicing Manila in five to six years, President Ramon Ang said, adding he’s planning to return to the airline business by then.

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Billionaire Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corp.,

The Philippines’ largest company expects the airport in Bulacan province to initially have two runways when it opens in five years, and will be expanded to four a year after, Ang said in a video call with reporters on Tuesday.

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Elaborating on his plans for an airline, he said six years from now, demand for air travel would be back to normal while costs would be lower. San Miguel briefly entered commercial aviation in 2012 when it bought into Philippine Airlines Inc., but eventually sold the stake back to Lucio Tan in 2014.

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Sales at most of San Miguel’s businesses, including oil refiner Petron Corp. and San Miguel Food and Beverage Inc., will remain weak amid the pandemic, Ang said.The century-old conglomerate, with sales equivalent to 5.5% of the nation’s gross domestic product, posted a 7.59 billion-peso ($157 million) net loss in the first half of the year as one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns hurt sales.“The economy will recover much quicker” once there’s a vaccine, said Ang, whose foundation plans to build a hospital that would specialize on infectious diseases.

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Petron is seeking a more equitable tax from the government as the nation’s only remaining oil refiner is taxed on both crude oil imports and its final output, unlike those that import finished products, Ang said. Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. in August announced that it will permanently shut its refinery and will concentrate on importation.Expansion projects that include new breweries, toll roads and an elevated rail transit, will continue as planned, Ang said.San Miguel plans to raise as much as 20 billion pesos from the sale of preferred shares to fund its infrastructure projects, it said on the website.

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