The Philippines is enjoying an economic boom. Strong domestic growth and Philippine investors flush with cash in search of bargain prices around the world have led to an international buying spree in the billions of dollars for everything from food manufacturers, vineyards, and casinos.
The chain of islands nation is known for exporting inexpensive junk food and shopping malls throughout Asia, but in recent years, Filipino corporations have grown their profits and diversified into other business sectors globally.
Some of the most recent major acquisitions in the news which have surprised global investors include:
Filipino instant noodle firm Monde Nissin announced it was buying British meat substitute manufacturer Quorn for more than $800 million. Monde Nissin also purchased two popular Australian food brands last year including fruit juice brand Nudie and chilled dip manufacturer Black Swan. Monde Nissin owner Betty Ang started the company 30 years ago. According to Forbes, she is the country’s 19th wealthiest person with a net worth of $900 million.
Emperador, a firm controlled by Andrew Tan, the Philippines’ fourth richest man, is a company specializing in inexpensive local brandy. Tan has his eye on spending more than one billion dollars in diversification in Europe. The company said it would bid to acquire French cognac maker Louis Royer SAS. Last year Emperador paid $725 million for Scottish whiskey brand Whyte and Mackay and $80 million for a fifty percent share of Spanish brandy producer Bodega Las Copas.
The Philippines’ third-richest man, Enrique Razon, has made his fortune through casinos, namely a billion-dollar casino in Manila opened in 2013. He’s announced he’ll be buying a Philippine island for another casino resort and opening his first overseas casino in South Korea.
While these are some of the largest overseas acquisitions, Philippine buyers have also expanded into international telecommunications, energy, and oil.
For decades, the Philippines endured low economic growth due to corruption and red tape. But under leadership from the nation’s president Benigno Aquino, the nation has streamlined economic policy and seen some of the highest economic growth in Asia, averaging six percent growth between 2010 and 2014. And under Aquino’s rule, the Philippines has moved up 53 spots in the rankings of best nations to do business in. The Philippines now ranks number 95 out of 189 economies based on the ease of doing business in the nation, according to The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.
To further buoy Philippine markets and consumer confidence, the credit rating agency Moody Investors Service reports that the Philippines’ investment-grade sovereign credit rating is well secured, explaining: “The Philippine economy remains resilient to the current headwinds buffeting neighboring countries and emerging markets as a whole.”
It remarked that the Philippines is well ahead of other emerging markets in terms of managing external adversities due to the nation’s strong domestic consumption, a stable banking sector, rising private-sector investments to growth, increasing per-capita income, benign inflation, and a declining debt burden.
Moody predicts that the Philippines, compared with other emerging markets, will remain less affected by external shocks like the Chinese slowdown, weakening global demand and the expected tightening of US monetary policy.
Expect to see more Philippine multinationals on the horizon.