Taipan Lucio Tan is preparing to cede management and operational control of his Asia Brewery empire to Dutch beer conglomerate Heineken, just like what the tycoon did with his Fortune Tobacco with Philip Morris.
According to the grapevine, the taipan’s son, LT Group president Michael Tan, is currently in Europe to sign the closing documents for the joint venture announced last May between Asia Brewery and Heineken International BV.
Under the JV agreement, a new company, AB Heineken will be formed, with the two breweries of Asia Brewery in Cabuyao, Laguna and in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental folded into the new company.
The two breweries will also be upgraded so they can brew Heineken and possibly Tiger, the Singaporean beer that is part of the 250 beer brands under the Heineken global empire.
In the meantime Asia Brewery has started distributing Heineken in the Philippines, retailing it for around P55 a can, markedly higher than, for example, the P33.50 supermarket price of Brew Kettle, a Belgian-style beer crafted by Asia Brewery.
According to the grapevine, the JV company has already been allocated office space in the taipan’s Allied Bank Center building along Ayala Avenue.
In Japan, Heineken is also a JV partner of Kirin, which also happens to be the JV partner of San Miguel Corp for the Philippine market leader, San Miguel Brewery.
According to the grapevine, the Asia Brewery-Heinikin venture is part of the ongoing estate planning of the 83-year-old Tan to provide continuity for his sprawling conglomerate amid the succession and inheritance challenges posed by his various families.
Heard through the grapevine
The festering family feud that has been roiling the Delgado clan for years threatens to spill over to the public arena again with the death earlier this week of shipping magnate Francisco “Don Paco” Delgado.
The body of the nonanegarian magnate was still proverbially warm when security guards were posted at his contested condo unit in Urdaneta Apartments.
The Urdaneta unit, 12C, is listed under the name of Ruby Gonzalez-Meyer, Delgado’ daughter with his late second wife, whose ownership is being contested by Don Paco’s children by his first wife.