Philippines conglomerate San Miguel Corp. saw its food business enjoy faster sales growth than the group as a whole during the first three months of the year.

The company said its food business generated sales of PHP18.4bn (US$390.6m) during the first quarter of 2009, an increase of 11%.

Group sales rose by 8% to PHP41.9bn. Underlying net income climbed 25% to PHP2.83bn. Operating income was up 11% at PHP4.29bn.

“The first quarter was very challenging for us but we delivered good results which only proves that the group was  geared up to face the challenges head on,” president and COO Ramon Ang said.