Friday, June 14, 2013

Del Monte Pacific Limited Debuts on the Philippine Stock Exchange

Who hasn't heard of Del Monte?

My family has been using Del Monte products for decades. The brand is a staple in our home. In the 1980s, I also had the chance to be assigned to audit Del Monte (then known as Philippine Packing Corporation or PPC). That assignment meant working not only in their Makati office then but I had to travel as well to Bukidnon where I spent days in their Bugo office and had to stay on the plantation as well.

Even back then, that plantation visit overwhelmed me. Del Monte sits on a plateau so the air and temperature there is akin to Baguio - cool. On the ground, you would pass hectares upon hectares of pineapples, as far as your eyes could see. It was not just pineapples there. Some of the best steaks could be experienced in Del Monte. Their cattle are 'pampered' - kept in corrals so very little movement happens and that makes their meat tender and juicy. Fresh milk and butter, pickles, fruits, and so much more all came straight from Del Monte soil.

Since then, Del Monte has changed ownership hands and it is now called Del Monte Pacific Ltd. or DMPL. And last June 10, 2013, DMPL did something which is a FIRST in the Philippines. It listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), 14 years after it listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) in 1999. This first dual listing between the SGX and the PSE helps promote the integration of the PSE with ASEAN bourses. Before this, the PSE only cross-listed with the New York Stock Exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited.

After the ringing of the PSE bell signaling the listing of DMPL, its executives held a press conference where they fielded questions from traditional media and social media.

Currently, DMPL carries 2 brands: Del Monte (for processed foods) and S&W which was acquired in 2007 (covering Asia, Middle East, Europe and Africa). In 2012, DMPL's sales reached US$460 million while its net income was US$32 million. In 2012, the branded business brought in 68% of its sales and 89% of its operating profit.

One thing that struck me about the current owners of Del Monte (the majority shareholder is the Campos family behind Unilab) is that unlike most other Chinese families, no Campos family member runs the operations. All their top management executives are professionals. Mr. Joselito D. Campos (Managing Director and CEO) is visible, sets the vision, participates in top-level discussions, but leaves most everything else to his management team. The ones who faced us at the presscon were Mr. Luis Alejandro (COO), Mr. Ignacio Carmelo Sison (CFO), Mr. Antonio Engenio Ungson (Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Legal Counsel) and Mr. Danilo Feliciano (Co-CEO-CLSA Exchange Capital Inc. -- responsible for investment banking, corporate finance, financial advisory and new business activities).

Mr. Joselito Campos and Mr. Luis Alejandro of Del Monte pose with bloggers

The "Coming Home" theme adapted by Del Monte is indeed a true homecoming because Del Monte has been around for 87 years already. It's really about time that they join the stock market here and let Filipinos become stockholders of such a long-standing presence in the country. DMPL believes that this listing makes the company accessible to local investors, widens its investor base beyond Singapore, and give the company additional sources of capital.

For interested stock exchange investors, the Del Monte stock code is DMPL.

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