Philippines-based food and drinks giant RFM Corp. is currently discussing plans for a branded consumer goods joint venture with Taiwan's largest food group Uni-President Enterprises.

Ramon M. Lopez, spokesperson for RFM, told Business World that the two companies hoped to finalise negotiations by the end of this month.

RFM and Uni-President have already established a partnership in the noodles business but hope to begin working together with other food products. RFM will hold the majority stake in the venture.

Jose A. Concepcion III, CEO and president of RFM, had earlier revealed the company intends to move towards a purely food focus. The group's existing branded portfolio includes Cosmos, Selecta, Swift, Sunkist, and Hersheys; RFM sold its soft-drink unit Cosmos Bottling Corp. to San Miguel Corp. earlier this month.

Other tie-ups to increase its position in the food market include an ice cream link-up with consumer product manufacturing leader Unilever Plc. In a bid to tap into the international market, RFM has also recently formed strategic partnerships with Unilever Thai Holdings Ltd. and Iglo (M) Sdn, a member of the Hai San Group.

Uni-President is the largest food company in Taiwan, and has been establishing a strong presence in China with a number of strategic alliances over the last year.