Metro Pacific buys stake in coconut exporter Axelum Resources for P5.3B

By: Miguel R. Camus – Reporter

Manuel V. Pangilinan-led infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. sealed its biggest agriculture investment on Tuesday with the P5.32-billion purchase of shares in coconut exports and processing firm, Axelum Resources Corp.

Metro Pacific, through subsidiary Metro Pacific Agro Ventures Inc., is acquiring a total of 34.76 percent of Axelum at P3.83 per share, according to parent firm First Pacific Group of Hong Kong.

This was below the 35 percent threshold that would trigger the mandatory tender offer rule to minority stockholders.

The buy-in was first reported by Reuters.

“[T]he transactions will allow [Metro Pacific] and the group to diversify their investment portfolio into the agricultural sector in the Philippines and represent a growth opportunity for [Metro Pacific],” First Pacific said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

Under the deal, Metro Pacific will purchase 1.19 billion common shares or 31.33 percent of Axelum Resources for P4.82 billion. The infrastructure company will also acquire 200 million redeemable preferred shares worth P500 million.

Axelum, whose main factory is located in Misamis Oriental, Mindanao, is a fully-integrated manufacturer of high-quality coconut products for domestic and international food and beverage companies.

The company uses all the parts of the coconut to make coconut water, desiccated coconuts, coconut milk powder, coconut milk/cream, reduced fat coconut, sweetened coconut, and coconut oil.

Metro Pacific is best known for its infrastructure investments, which include energy retailer Manila Electric Co., toll roads, hospitals and the Light Rail Transit Line 1.

It entered the agriculture sector last year, acquiring a controlling stake in Carmen’s Best dairy group for about P200 million and partnering with Israel’s LR Group to build a P2-billion modern dairy farm in Laguna.

Axelum shares, down 1.42 percent to P3.45 each on Tuesday morning, have risen by about 40 percent in the weeks ahead of the announcement. Metro Pacific shares rose 0.5 percent to P4.05 per share.


This content originally appeared in Philippine Daily Inquirer