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Uy Gongco bares expansion

By Othel V. Campos | Feb. 22, 2013 at 12:02am
Agro-industrial giant La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp. is spending P1.2 billion for a diversification program that will expand its product line from raw agricultural produce to meat processing and pasta manufacturing.

“The Philippine market is growing. Asean market is growing. We need this kind of investment,” La Filipina chairman Alfonso Uy told reporters in an interview Thursday.

La Filipina recently put up a P1-billion plant in Manila Harbor Center to produce two separate pasta brands. The Amigo Segurado brand has been out since December 2012, while another pasta line, the La Filipina brand, will come out soon.

Both pasta brands are produced under newly-incorporated Mama Tina Corp., a wholly-owned unit of La Filipina.

The pasta manufacturing plant is equipped to produce as much as 140 metric tons, or 140,000 kilos, of combined spaghetti and macaroni.

“When we go into manufacturing, we want the most modern, state-of-the-art facilities and the most sanitary, healthiest operations. We’re talking about food here and we do recognize that we have a responsibility to the public for safe food,” said Uy.

La Filipina in 2010 acquired Mariveles Grain Terminal from Asian Terminals Inc. to boost its grains trading operations.

The company diversified into meat canning in late 2012, introducing the corned pork and luncheon meat line to complement the hogs raising business, the company’s major line.

Uy said the company was using the freshest pork from its farms with no extenders added to the product.

The company is looking at building a P200-million cannery in Bulacan within 2013.

“Right now we’re tolling. We provide the ingredients and the cans. We also used toll service in slaughter. Our capacity is not big at the moment but soon enough we’ll have our own processing plant [cannery] somewhere in Bulacan near our piggery farms,” said Uy.

La Filipina has two commercial farms, Amigo Agro-Industrial Development Corp. and Exel Farm Inc., which both sell the produce straight to the wet markets.

Uy said the company decided to add value to the meat industry to partly answer to the oversupply in the industry.

“To improve the competitiveness, we try to add some value. We believe that the essence of entrepreneurship is to introduce something novel. And this how we came up with our first canned meat product, which is corned pork,” he said.
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