UPDATE 1-San Miguel CEO hands reins over further with stake sale to president

Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:24am EDT

* 11 pct stake sold to man behind diversification drive

* Exchange data shows shares sold at 34 pct discount

* Cojuangco says he wants more time for personal interests

* San Miguel eyes record $24 bln revenue by 2013 (Recasts and writes through)

By Erik dela Cruz

MANILA, June 29 (Reuters) - San Miguel Corp Chairman Eduardo Cojuangco on Friday sold an 11 percent stake in the firm to its president Ramon Ang, in a sign that he is increasingly willing to hand over the reins to the man behind the company's diversification drive over the past three years.

Cojuangco, 77 and who will remain as chairman and CEO, is seeking more time to devote to personal interests and has sold his shares via the stock exchange to "a trusted friend on friendly terms," San Miguel said in statement.

Stock exchange data showed several blocks of San Miguel shares changed hands at 75 pesos per share on Friday, a 34 percent discount to the current market price of 114 pesos.

The shares are worth about 30 billion pesos or $708 million and the company's market value is around $6.5 billion.

"I am confident he will lead San Miguel to further greatness," Cojuangco said in the statement.

San Miguel's top shareholder Top Frontier also bought shares worth 9.4 billion pesos, adding to its holding of 37 percent as of end-March. San Miguel said total block sales on the stock exchange on Friday were worth 37 billion pesos.

It was not immediately clear how much of a stake Cojuangco currently owns but Ang is now widely believed to be the company's biggest individual shareholder.

Ang, 58, has been president and chief operating officer of San Miguel since 2002 but his leadership role has shifted up a gear in the past three years after Cojuangco became ill, transforming the food and beverage firm into one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines.

The group has spent at least $3 billion since 2007 on acquisitions in the energy, telecoms, mining, banking, infrastructure and airlines sector.

Ang expects group revenue to climb to $24 billion by 2013 from a projected $20 billion this year and has said the firm may make more acquisitions in the near term.

San Miguel is also looking to sell up to 80 billion pesos worth of preferred shares in August, the biggest-ever share sale by a local firm.

Shares in San Miguel ended 1 percent down on Friday in a market that fell 0.2 percent. The stock has lost about 1 percent this year, underperforming a 20 percent gain for the broader market, which has been the best performer among Southeast Asian indexes. ($1 = 42.4 Philippine pesos) (Editing by Rosemarie Francisco and Edwina Gibbs)

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