Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is acquiring a 34.76-percent interest in coconut manufacturer and exporter Axelum Resources Corp. for P5.32 billion, as the conglomerate continues to ramp up investments in the agriculture sector, parent firm First Pacific Co Ltd. said Tuesday.
MPIC said unit Metro Pacific Agro Ventures Inc. signed a share purchase agreement for the acquisition of 200 million redeemable preferred shares in ARC for P4.82 billion. It also agreed to acquire P500 million worth of ARC shares.
ARC, a company led by businessman Romeo Chan, is engaged in manufacturing and toll manufacturing of coconut water and other coconut products for domestic and international markets. Its main production facility is located in Medina, Misamis Oriental, while manufacturing and distribution facilities are in the US and Australia.
It is the leading manufacturer and exporter globally of high-quality coconut products, and one of the major suppliers of Vita Coco, the global market leader in coconut water. Its export markets include the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Middle East, Japan and other major countries in Asia.
“The company believes that transaction will allow MPIC and the group to diversify their investment portfolio, through the purchase, into agricultural sector in the Philippines and represent a growth opportunity for MPIC,” First Pacific said in a disclosure to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The deal will not trigger the mandatory tender offer rule as the acquisition is below the 35-percent threshold.
MPIC said the acquisition would strengthen its bid to become a serious player in the agriculture sector. “The north star of our agriculture business is helping our country achieve food security. This investment into ARC will mean more income opportunities for coconut farmers, as well as a broader landscape for Philippine agriculture,” MPIC chairman, president and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan said.
Chan, the chairman and chief executive of ARC, said the partnership would enable the company to further develop the Philippine coconut industry and uplift the marginalized coconut farming communities.
“We proudly welcome our new partners, MPAV and the entire MPIC organization, and we thank them for sharing the same values and ambition to advance the coconut industry by synergizing our resources and expertise,” Chan said.
ARC is also a major exporter of desiccated coconut, coconut milk/cream, coconut cooking oil and other coconut products.
MPIC said it would continue to look for other opportunities in the agriculture sector, while aiming to achieve a wider presence in the dairy industry.
MPIC ventured into agriculture in June 2022 when it acquired a 51-percent stake in ice cream and dairy firm Carmen’s Best from the Magsaysay family.