Food manufacturer Nestle Philippines is to proceed with its P3 billion (€60m) investment project that will result in increased production capacity and the introduction of new products that will strengthen the food firm's presence in the local and foreign market.
Nestle Philippines' chairman and chief executive officer Juan B. Santos said that despite initial hesitation, the company had decided to go ahead with the expansion programme, which is expected to be completed by end-2003.
The investment involves the setup of new production facilities as well as the purchase and introduction of new technologies.
"We're going ahead with it. We were, at one time, very hesitant about it [the investment project], but now we are proceeding with it," he said, on the sidelines of the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility.
He added that management gave the go signal early this year, noting the improved economic climate of Nestle's export markets.
Of the P3 billion funding allocation, about half will be spent this year with the remainder to be disbursed in 2003.
Nestle's facilities in Cabuyao, Laguna, Cagayan de Oro City and Lipa, Batangas - which will be expanded and renovated - are expected to run at full capacity by the end of next year.
These three factories are major sources of infant nutrition, cereals, and powdered milk in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region.
The Laguna plant, the company's largest manufacturing facility in the Philippines, is the largest producer of infant nutrition products in Southeast Asia.
The expansion project is also expected to consolidate all coffee manufacturing in the Cagayan de Oro factory where new state-of-the-art facilities will be installed. This will transform the Cagayan de Oro factory into a single manufacturing facility for the Nescafe brand.
This developed as Nestle is set to export ice cream, under the Magnolia brand, to the United States, Guam and selected Southeast Asian countries.
Nestle Philippines, a subsidiary of the Swiss food manufacturing giant and domestic conglomerate San Miguel, currently offers more than 30,000 products and 8,500 brands in the following categories: coffee, nutrition, beverages, breakfast, cereals, confectionery, food, ice cream and pet care.