Metro Pacific says to boost Axelum’s domestic business

Conglomerate aims to be serious player in agriculture -statement

Adds quotes from official, background, details

MANILA, Feb 7 (Reuters)Philippine conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp MPI.PS on Tuesday said it has entered into a deal to acquire a third of Axelum Resources Corp AXLM.PS to expand its agriculture portfolio.

In a disclosure, Metro Pacific said its subsidiary would spend 5.32 billion pesos ($97.31 million) for a 34.76% share in Axelum, a manufacturer and exporter of coconut products.

The newsconfirmed a Reuters reporton Mondayciting sourceson Metro Pacific’s plan to buy a significant stake in Axelum.

“The acquisition buttresses Metro Pacific’s promise in becoming a serious player in the agricultural field,” the company said.

Metro Pacific Agro Ventures will strengthen Axelum’s international business and develop the domestic market while supporting local coconut farmers, CEO Jovy Hernandez said in a statement.

Axelum is one of the major suppliers of Vita Coco Company Inc COCO.A. It also exports milk, cream, cooking oil and other coconut products to 23 countries.

Metro Pacific, which has interests in power, water, hospitals and toll roads, is a unit of Hong Kong-listed First Pacific Co Ltd 0142.HK.

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It started an agriculture push in mid-2022 by acquiring a majority share in a Philippine dairy and premium ice cream producer.

($1 = 54.67 Philippine pesos)

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Ed Davies)

((manila.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com))

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