Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is diversifying into agribusiness sector with the acquisition of a controlling stake in premium ice cream maker Carmen’s Best Group from the Magsaysay family.
Under the strategic partnership, Metro Pacific will acquire a 51-percent stake in The Laguna Creamery Inc., which will buy the assets and operations of the Carmen’s Best Group for P198 million. The Magsaysay family will retain the 49-percent ownership.
Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan said the initial investment is a part of the group’s plan to diversify its investment portfolio to include the agriculture sector.
“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,” Pangilinan said.
“Ultimately, the country should aim for substantial independence in food. And we must feed our people first,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said the company is on the lookout for more investment opportunities in the agriculture sector via joint ventures or greenfield development.
Carmen’s Best Group chief executive Francisco Magsaysay said the partnership would enable to group to further develop and expand the operations of its dairy farm and manufacturing facilities.
Carmen’s Best, named after Francisco’s daughter, started in 2007 when former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Francisco’s father, together with his friends, bought a farm in Bay, Laguna to offer fresh milk. The family registered Carmen’s Best Dairy Products in October 2009 and offered ice cream products a year later.
“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,” Francisco Magsaysay said.
Aside from premium artisanal ice cream brand, Carmen’s Best Ice Cream, the group also produces yogurt and artisanal cheeses under the Carmen’s Best Natural Cheese and Holly’s brands.
MPIC has investments in power generation, toll roads, hospitality sector, real estate and water utility services.
MPIC’s core net income rose 23 percent in the first quarter to P3.1 billion from P2.5 billion in the same period last year, boosted by the steady performance of power and toll road businesses.
The company said it benefitted from continued economic recovery and intensified election-related activities in the country. Toll road traffic neared pre-pandemic levels and power consumption considerably increased as more industries ramped up operating capacity.