Philippine food and beverage group San Miguel today (Wednesday) increased its offer for Australia’s National Foods to A$6.40 (US$4.90) a share.

The Australian newspaper reported that San Miguel, which had earlier offered $5.90 a share, had beaten a bid from New Zealand dairy co-operative Fonterra of $6.20, dependent on Fonterra getting a 90% stake.

The latest San Miguel offer has the unanimous backing of the National Foods board, in the absence of a superior proposal, the paper said.

Chairman David Crawford said San Miguel’s bid was towards the top end of the board’s own valuation and better reflected the value of National Foods’ leading brands, market positions and superior management.

San Miguel chairman and chief executive Eduardo Cojuangco said the new offer demonstrated his company’s commitment to achieving its long term strategic objectives.

“The acquisition of National Foods is an important step towards the realisation of our ambition to expand our presence in beverages and food in selected countries in the Asia Pacific region,” Cojuangco said.

“We believe that the addition of San Miguel’s Asian marketing strengths of National Foods will bring benefits to the Australian food and dairy industry.”

San Miguel said it was waiving all previous conditions other than the 50% minimum acceptance condition. San Miguel said the offer was a 40% premium to National Foods’ closing price on October 27, the day before Fonterra’s initial takeover announcement.

It said the offer was a straight cash offer, with no brokerage charged for shareholders. San Miguel is also extending the offer until April 29.