UPDATE 1-Manila's San Miguel gets four bids for Pure Foods

07/19/2010 - * Says bidders for Pure Foods are 3 locals and one foreign

* Says valuation reported in local media was too steep

* Pure Food shares untraded

(Adds official's comment, newspaper report)

MANILA, July 19 (Reuters) - Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp (SMC.PS)(SMCB.PS) received four bids last week for the stake it is selling in subsidiary San Miguel Pure Foods Co Inc (PF.PS), the company president said on Monday.

Ramon Ang, also director of Pure Foods, did not name the bidders nor give the value of the bids. But a local newspaper said on Monday that San Miguel and its financial adviser JP Morgan had valued Pure Foods' total capital stock at $1.3 billion, based on an estimate of 10 times the firm's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

Ang said the valuation reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer was too steep.

"Ten times is much too high even for power," Ang told Reuters via a mobile text message. San Miguel has been aggressively expanding into high-growth sectors such as infrastructure and power. It had obtained shareholder approval earlier this year to sell more than 51 percent of its core food and drinks businesses to fund its diversification plan.

Asked if there were three local bidders and one foreign bidder for the stake up for sale in Pure Foods, Ang said: "Yes, three plus one."

Ang said last week San Miguel was selling 49 percent of Pure Foods. There had been some market speculation it would sell its entire 99.9 percent holding. [ID:nSGE66B0B1]

Before last week's bid, sources had said the bidders included private equity firms Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] and CVC Capital Partners [CVC.UL], the Campos business clan from the Philippines, and food firm Universal Robina Corp (URC) (URC.PS). [ID:nTOE66106L]

URC President Lance Gokongwei declined to comment on Friday when asked if the company submitted a bid.

Company officials and market sources previously said the enterprise value of Pure Foods -- which holds the San Miguel group's processed meats, poultry, livestock, feeds and dairy operations -- could be around $2 billion.

Pure Foods, a largely illiquid stock, was untraded on Monday from its Friday close at 345 pesos ($7.4). The Friday close was its highest since June 6 when it traded for the first time in 17 months. The main stock index .PSI was down 0.5 percent in mid-session.

San Miguel's A shares restricted to locals were also untraded while its B shares open to all investors slipped 0.7 percent. Both stocks hit six-month lows last week. Pure Foods bidder URC slipped 1.56 percent at mid-session on Monday after hitting a fresh lifetime high of 32.50 pesos earlier in the day. (reuters.com)

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