Manila's San Miguel says Pure Foods bids due July 15

MANILA Fri Jul 9, 2010 2:10am EDT

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MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine food-to-power conglomerate San Miguel Corp (SMC.PS) SMCB.PS will receive bids from interested buyers of its food unit San Miguel Pure Foods Co Inc (PF.PS) next week, the group's president said on Friday.

"Submission of bids is July 15," Ramon Ang told Reuters in a mobile text message, when asked about the timing of the Pure Foods deal.

He did not give further details.

Pure Foods, which holds the group's processed meats, poultry, livestock, feeds and dairy operations, surged to a lifetime high of 345 pesos, rising more than triple in just a month and after trading mostly flat in the last four years.

At its Friday close, Pure Foods was valued at 48.7 billion pesos ($1.1 billion).

Sources previously said private equity firms Carlyle Group CYL.UL and CVC and Philippine food firm Universal Robina Corp (URC.PS) are among the bidders for Pure Foods, which has a total value of around $2 billion, according to company officials and market sources.

The 120-year-old San Miguel, which has been aggressively moving into power and infrastructure and away from its traditional food and drinks businesses which it dominated locally for decades, owns nearly 100 percent of Pure Foods as of end-June, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.

San Miguel said last year it planned to sell a 49 percent stake in Pure Foods, but a volatile market and uncertainty ahead of May national elections stalled its plans.

In May, Ang was quoted as saying the group was planning to sell 49 percent of its food arm and was talking to five interested groups which he did not name.

But bankers advising potential buyers have said Southeast Asia's largest food and drinks firm could end up selling the entire company.

Snacks and drinks firm Universal Robina, a unit of Philippine conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc (JGS.PS), has been reported to be eyeing Pure Foods.

Robina President Lance Gokongwei declined to comment about the company's interest when contacted on Friday.

($1= 46.2 pesos)

(Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)

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