San Miguel 2012 profit jumps 57 pct, beats forecasts

MANILA, March 21 Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:34am EDT

MANILA, March 21 (Reuters) - San Miguel Corp, the Philippines' most diversified conglomerate, beat market forecasts with a 57 percent rise in full-year profit as strong demand in Asia's second fastest-growing economy in 2012 boosted its sales.

Net income in 2012 jumped to 27.6 billion pesos ($678 million) from 17.5 billion pesos in 2011, San Miguel said in a statement on Thursday.

Analysts had expected the company's net income to climb nearly 6 percent to 18.5 billion pesos for all of 2012, based on consensus estimates from Thomson One, a Thomson Reuters product. The group's net sales climbed 30 percent to 698.9 billion pesos.

San Miguel, which started as a brewery more than a century ago, has added capital-intensive power generation and distribution, oil refining, mining, telecoms, infrastructure and airlines to its business portfolio in recent years after dominating the local market for food and beverage.

Group President Ramon Ang has said San Miguel, with a market value of $6.7 billion, will likely continue to evolve in the coming years with the company eyeing possible investments in oil and natural gas fields overseas.

San Miguel shares fell nearly 10 percent last year, underperforming Manila's benchmark index which gained more than 30 percent to become Asia's second best performing market. The stock is up more than 9 percent this year, slightly below the broader market's gains of around 10 percent.

(Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Matt Driskill)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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