North Star Meat Merchants, Inc. has tapped WEnergy Power Pilipinas, Inc. to provide a solar rooftop system for the food retailer’s cold storage complex in Bulacan.
“Our strategic collaboration with WEnergy Global allows us to continue providing the public with affordable products while still ensuring the highest quality available. We believe that this partnership will allow us to enhance our robust logistics backbone in order to strengthen our end-to-end service capabilities. Working with WEnergy Global’s international specialists goes beyond solar panels,” said North Star Chief Executive Officer Anthony Ng in a statement.
WEnergy Power Pilipinas, a partner company of Singapore-based WEnergy Global Pte. Ltd., will provide 830.7 kilowatt-peak solar photovoltaic rooftop system to North Star’s cold storage facility complex.
“The project adds a sustainable solution to the overall business operations of North Star, one that aligns with their vision to reduce the carbon footprint and costs of its supply chain of end-to-end fresh frozen meat across the Philippines,” North Star said.
In 2021, North Star increased its storage capacity to 4.8 million kilograms (kg) from 2 million kg. In 2022, the company expects its storage capacity to increase to 6.4 million kg, along with higher energy consumption.
With the solar photovoltaic energy infrastructure, it expects over 1 million kilowatt-hour annual capacity that allows a 15% reduction in its monthly power expenses and a 23% reduction in its carbon footprint.
The company also expects to reduce its energy costs by over 15%, with a 2% additional increase in savings every year, equivalent to more than $2.6 million worth of savings in power bills over the next 25 years.
“More than providing our customers with high quality products at an affordable price, we want to ensure that we are able to support the communities within our value chain — from supporting the growth of our local producers to maintaining the confidence of our retail partners. The savings and environmental benefits gained from our partnership with WEnergy Global allows us to shift the focus on other pressing matters as we plan to expand the business to greater heights,” Mr. Ng said.
North Star Meat Merchants Inc., one of the biggest fresh frozen food retailers found in modern trade, signed an agreement with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to support small sized pig farmers in the hopes to bolster the local pig farming economy and help them recover from the onslaught of the African Swine Fever (ASF).
This agreement was made possible through the DA’s Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) and Bantay African Swine Fever sa Barangay (BABay ASF) program.
Under the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), North Star will be allowed to purchase hogs from small sized pig farmers. This agreement allows North Star to take care of butchering, blast chilling or freezing, cold storage, cold chain logistics, butchering, retailing and distribution of pork to more than 300 branches of SM Markets (Supermarket, Hypermarket, Savemore), Waltermart, and Alfamart nationwide.
“Despite unfavorable conditions, the resilience our farmers have shown inspired us to work with the Department of Agriculture to provide the assistance they need on their road to recovery,” said North Star Founder & CEO Anthony Ng in a statement. “We are committed to sustainably purchase, process, and distribute their production to our retail channels so more local pig farmers can remain confident in providing the public with quality meat products.”
With pork producers in the frontline of the country’s goal of food security and food self-sufficiency, the MOU will give local farmers more confidence in maximizing the production capabilities of their farms and maintain the steady supply of pork to the market. Furthermore, this MOU can also be of assistance in lowering the price of pork and in easing inflation.
“The Department of Agriculture understands the importance of linking various stakeholders in order to achieve our objective of supporting the welfare of our local producers and consumers,” says Secretary of the Department of Agriculture William Dar. “We believe that our partnership with North Star, an end-to-end fresh frozen meat retailer, will allow us to enhance the capacity of our local producers while helping in ensuring food security for Filipinos.”
North Star boasts of a Triple A rated and HACCP Certified Cold Storage Warehouse and Meat Cutting Plant in Tabang, Bulacan that promises safety across the supply chain. With this storage capacity expected to increase to 6.4 million kilos in 2022, the company is in the position to support more pig farming communities as they slowly recover from the pandemic and the ASF.
“Our partnership with the Department of Agriculture is one of the steps being taken by the company to ensure that we are within industry standards to promote food sustainability within the country,” says Ng. “We firmly believe that through our collaborative efforts, we will be able to achieve our goal of sustaining the country’s food safety, availability, accessibility, and affordability.”
North Star Meat Merchants Inc. (“NSM”) is the largest end-to-end fresh frozen meat retailer, operating in all SM Markets (Supermarket, Hypermarket, Savemore), WalterMart & Alfamart across the Philippines.
Founded by businessman Anthony Ng, North Star has over 20 years of industry experience in the areas of sourcing, processing, and logistics to retailing to bring meats safely to the public.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the North Star Meat Merchants, Inc. (NSMMI) to intensify DA’s initiative in restoring vibrant situation of local hog industry through its Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) and Bantay African Swine Fever sa Barangay” (BABay ASF) program.
On January 18, Agriculture Secretary William Dar and NSMMI President Anthony Ng led the ceremonial signing of MOU for a partnership that will link small hog growers’ beneficiaries of INSPIRE to pursue a Contract Growing Arrangement (CGA) with NSMMI.
This is in support of DA’s goal of reviving the local hog growers and providing affordable, local fresh-chilled, and frozen pork for the consuming public.
“I would like to believe that in every step of the way we need to look at opportunities for us to be able to link various stakeholders, in this case, our local producers, on our main objective towards enhancing capacity and looking forward always that the local hog industry progresses,” Sec. Dar said stressing DA’s goal to ensure national food security.
He added that during the times when there is supply gap, the Department works to augment the local inventory by bringing in supplies from other countries so that affordable produce are made accessible to help consuming public in general.
“This year, we hope to have more resources to enhance our repopulation program for the hog industry, and also to encourage private sector to come forward and invest. I understand that there are components in the private sector that are now moving forward and investing in a big way, but we also want members of the industry to start enhancing their investment and see to it that containing and managing the ASF will always be elevated and sustained,” he said.
The agriculture czar also urged private sector to help government in the development of vaccine for ASF.
Under the MOU, the DA, through its Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) will assist the beneficiaries of the INSPIRE Program in marketing and market linking.
DA-AMAS will also assist NSMMI in the monitoring of participating small hog growers to ensure performance of responsibilities in the CGA; provide complementary support to small hog growers such as linking them to feed companies or facilitate training on hog production and meat handling; and facilitate the participation of hog growers in accessing financial assistance through microfinance institutions and other credit facilities for improved hog production.
NSMMI, for their part, will provide a checklist of requirements including quantity/volume, quality, and price to DA; coordinate directly to the small hog growers the specific requirements on hogs and the mode of delivery; provide training in hog production and food safety and meat handling to the small hog growers; administer payments directly to the small hog growers after successful transactions; and issue feedback to the DA should dilemma arise in the CGA.
“The Philippines pork producers have always been in the frontline of the country’s food security and self-sufficiency goals. To further assist small pork producers and cooperatives from the devastation of ASF, we commit to sustainably purchase, process, and distribute their production to our retail chains. Hopefully, this will inspire the confidence of our farmers to produce more pork. We would like to thank Sec. Dar, Usec. Evangelista and the whole OneDA family for all the work they have done for this industry,” Ng said.
“Hopefully, by doing a small part, we at the North Star may assist you to achieve and sustain the country’s food availability, safety, accessibility, and affordability. We hope this event will inspire all industry players to further their efforts in assisting our country’s farmers and cooperatives. We firmly believe that through collaborative efforts between all the players in the private and government, we can achieve self-sufficiency and food security,” he added.
The MOU signing was witnessed by Undersecretary-Designate for Livestock William Medrano, Undersecretary for Consumer and Political Affairs Kristine Evangelista, Senior Assistant Vice President for Supply Chain and Logistics of SM Supermarket Rey del Valle, WalterMart General Manager Rosemarie Caalam, and NSMMI Chief Financial Officer Jed Tan.
The DA and NSMMI are set to draft the guidelines for the proper implementation of CGA.
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it signed a memorandum of understanding with North Star Meat Merchants, Inc., which will help hog growers refresh their depleted herds after the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.
The DA said North Star, with the department’s assistance, will monitor small hog growers, link them to feed companies, and facilitate financial assistance from microfinance institutions and other credit sources in order to raise hog production.
North Star will also organize training sessions for small hog growers on production, food safety, and meat handling.
“This is in support of the DA’s goal of helping local hog growers revive the industry and provide affordable, local fresh-chilled and frozen pork for the consuming public,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement.
“We need to look at opportunities for us to be able to link various stakeholders, in this case, our local producers, on our main objective towards enhancing capacity and looking forward always that the local hog industry progresses,” he added.
In a virtual briefing, the DA said ASF is currently active in seven regions, six provinces, 17 municipalities, and 45 barangays, with Cagayan, Batangas, Quezon, and Marinduque among the most affected areas.
“This year, we hope to have more resources to enhance our repopulation program for the hog industry and also to encourage private sector to come forward and invest. I understand that there are components in the private sector that are now moving forward and investing in a big way, but we also want members of the industry to start enhancing their investment and see to it that containing and managing ASF will always be elevated and sustained,” Mr. Dar said.
“Philippine pork producers have always been in the frontline of the country’s food security and self-sufficiency goals. To further assist small pork producers and cooperatives from the devastation of ASF, we commit to sustainably purchase, process, and distribute their production to our retail chains. Hopefully, this will inspire the confidence of our farmers to produce more pork,” North Star said in a statement.
“We hope this event will inspire all industry players to further their efforts in assisting our country’s farmers and cooperatives. We firmly believe that through collaborative efforts between all the players in the private and government, we can achieve self-sufficiency and food security,” the company added.
MANILA, Philippines — At least 10 companies are looking to debut on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) this year to raise funds for expansion, hopeful of the economy’s prospects for recovery.
These include Ada Manufacturing Corp. (Adamco), a leading dealer of agriculture machines and equipment; North Star Meat Merchants Inc., a meat retailer; Bank of Commerce, the banking arm of San Miguel Corp.; Balai ni Fruitas, a subsidiary of listed Fruitas Holdings Inc.; Figaro Group, the restaurant and coffee chain and Haus Talk, a niche property player.
There are also REIT offerings from Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., SM Prime Holdings and Citicore REIT.
In the latter part of 2022, the Villar Group is also looking to list its power company, PAVI Green.
Some of these listings were planned for 2021 but due to delays in regulatory processes, the planned market debuts had been moved to this year.
Also in the pipeline is North Star, a leading meat supplier of SM. The company, led by Anthony Ng, is the leading end-to-end frozen and fresh meat supplier to around 383 SM branches.
Ed Francisco, president of BDO Capital & Investment Corp., which is handling the deal, said the company is eyeing up to P4 billion IPO.
“By buying into them, you are buying into SM, because they are the leading supplier,” Francisco said in a recent interview.
PSE president Ramon Monzon welcomes the planned listings. He said the PSE would open 2022 with the back to back IPO of Haus Talk Inc., which is targeting to list on Jan. 17 and Figaro Coffee Group Inc., which will debut on Jan. 24.
“Positioning as the first IPO for next year will be a good move for Haus Talk as fresh eyes and renewed optimism is likely for investors when starting the year,” Unicapital said in a commentary on the Haus Talk IPO.
Despite the difficult business environment brought about by the pandemic, the PSE registered a new record for capital raised in the stock market last year at P234.48 billion, breaking the P228.33 billion reported in 2020, on the back of the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in the history of the exchange and REIT listings.
For 2021, the PSE had eight IPOs, 11 follow-on offerings, four stock rights offerings and seven private placements.
“We are pleased that more companies chose to raise funds through the PSE. Their confidence in the stock market made it possible for us to achieve this record capital raising number,” Monzon said.
As a long-time advocate of agricultural development, I am glad to see in all the platforms of the candidates for President in the May 2022 elections a high priority given to improving agricultural productivity. I must remind them, however, that agriculture is more than farming. We must actually focus on what is called agribusiness, the whole value chain from raising crops or catching fish to post-harvest, cold storage, logistics, processing, wholesaling and retailing. In fact, although farming only accounts for less than 10% of GDP, if we add all the other components of the value chain in agribusiness, that amount would go up to more than 30%. People forget that manufacturing companies like San Miguel Corporation, Century Pacific or Robina Foods are part of agribusiness and are very attractive to investors.
I was very glad to know that one of the graduates of a program I personally launched in 1989, the Entrepreneurial Management Program (EMP) of the University of Asia and the Pacific, has done very well in the retailing of meat, a very important food item for Filipinos at all income levels. I am referring to the founder of NorthStar Meat Merchants Inc. that is a very important player in the distribution of pork meat, among others. Today, more than ever, we need efficient and socially responsible distributor of pork because of the supply crisis that has been provoked by the African Swine Fever for almost two years now. The Government and the private business sector have to do a very difficult balancing act between allowing larger volumes of imports of pork meat and protecting the local producers, especially the small hog raisers. It is heartening to know that a teenager that I and a group of other mentors helped to start a small business as part of the EMP curriculum in the late 1990s in just twenty years is poised to be one of the biggest fresh frozen food retailers in the Philippines, with the capability to provide high quality and affordable food to Filipinos consumers even as it supports the different stakeholders in its value chain, a social concern that we literally hammered into our budding entrepreneurs. It is part of the mission of the School of Management to turn out entrepreneurs who always take into account their responsibility to all the stakeholders other than just the shareholders, especially the consumers and the rank-and-file workers.
NorthStar Meat Merchants was started as part of a requirement of an undergraduate college program in which UA&P pioneered in 1989. Every enrollee in the EMP of UA&P is required to start a small business venture in his first year which in the four years of his undergraduate program should grow under the mentorship of experienced business men teaching in the program to such an extent that by the time the student is about to graduate in his fourth year, the business must already be making a reasonable profit. If not, the student will not be able to graduate. In 1997, when Tony Ng—a teenager from Iloilo—started in the EMP, a meat shop run by his mother in Iloilo encountered financial difficulties which led to serious misunderstandings among the members of the family. Tony decided to ask his mother to turn over to him the running of the meat shop as the business venture he would present to his mentors at UA&P. He started his own meat shop in La Paz, Iloilo and while he was still in college, he was given the opportunity to supply SM Iloilo and other prominent retailers like Ever, Waltermart, Robinsons, South SuperMarket, Cash and Carry, and Unimart. Tony slowly built the business so that by the time of his graduation in 2001, it was already making the reasonable profit required by the EMP. In 2001, he wasted no time to set a meeting in Manila with SM so that it would carry more of his meat. SM was so satisfied with his performance that by 2007, it asked for an exclusive partnership with Tony who gladly accepted. At that time, there were only 9 to 13 branches with SM and around 20 to 26 branches outside SM. At the SM supermarkets, Tony’s consumer brand was called Fresh Choice.
Under the able leadership of Tony, who continued to be mentored by a former professor at UA&P, by 2021, NorthStar in 2021 is providing meat products to 383 branches of SM under the brands SM Bonus and United Steaks. NorthStar has become the majority supplier since 95 to 98 % of the meat products sold in the SM stores are sourced from it. It is also providing fresh food products to Waltermart with 70% presence under the brands Everyday and W Prime Meatshop. It is also providing the chicken meat for the offerings of 7-Eleven. I expect NorthStar to at the forefront of selling meat products during this Christmastime as Filipino consumers indulge in what has been called “revenge spending.” Tony Ng will be like a Santa Claus brightening up Filipino homes during Noche Buena and other meal times during the Christmas season with his reasonably priced and high-quality meat products.
It is gratifying to us, his former mentors, to have seen a start-up just twenty years ago to have grown to become the largest end-to-end fresh frozen meat retailer in the country. Tony attributes his success to the theoretical and practical advice he got while enrolled in the EMP that has produced other successful entrepreneurs in other sectors of the economy. I hope to be able to also report on them in future articles in this publication. Tony succeeded by growing his business through pioneering an agile and dynamic system that integrates all the expertise needed—from sourcing, processing, and logistics to retailing—to bring all types of meats safely to the consumers through modern trade. The strong economics education that is a comparative advantage of our university, that started as the think tank called the Center for Research and Communication (CRC), is obvious in the reply that Tony gave to questions I asked him about how he prices his products during these hard times of serious shortages of pork supply. In fact, it must be pointed out that the agricultural sector would have grown by a positive 2% in the third quarter of 2021, if the supply of pork did not plummet because of the swine fever. His answer to the pricing policy of NorthStar is as follows: “Inflation is affecting the purchasing power of Filipino households and for NorthStar Meat Merchants, we understand more than anyone how meatand food in general, is essential. We have always been guided to have our consumers in mind, and even amid challenging times, we have kept our prices affordable and competitive, while still keeping profitable margins.” To make sure that it always factors the common good into its pricing and marketing decisions, NorthStar Meat Merchants is in constant dialogue with the different governing agencies.
When I asked Tony whether he remembers what some of us taught about business having a responsibility to address some of the problems of society instead of just being obsessed with maximizing profits, he gladly informed me that in a farm still owned by his family in Iloilo province, NorthStar has adopted an Indigenous People (IP) community in order to educate the residents on the business of meat retailing and hog raising so that they can eventually be employed in some of the components of the value chain of providing meat for the consumers, whether at the farming, post-harvest, cold storage, wholesale or retailing stages. In fact, Tony intends to partner with some other concerned business people in the Western Visayas area to put up an Agritech school that will train the youth in skills related to agribusiness, whether in farming or fishing or in the other phases of agribusiness. Tony realizes that there are many young people who will not have the opportunity to go to college but will be extremely benefited by a TESDA-type of skills training program geared towards the agribusiness sector.
NorthStar Meat Merchants is constantly exploring opportunities that would enable it to continue growing in the Philippine market as it endeavors to scale up its business to be able to reach Filipino households with its affordable, high-quality products. Its focus on pork meat (about 70 % of its product offerings) gives it a lot of room for growth. Although Filipinos are predominantly pork eaters, the country’s per capita consumption of hog meat is only half of that of Vietnam, although the two economies have almost identical per capita GDP incomes, indicating the great potential for growth in demand. Through its twenty years of existence, NorthStar has been very agile in balancing sourcing the supply of pork meat from domestic producers and from imports. Whatever the mix in any given year, it abides by the strictest protocols and makes sure that it has certifications attesting that it is compliant with the highest food safety standards.
I fondly hope that there will be other start-ups among the millennials and centennials that will focus on food security. While I understand why many of our young people tend to gravitate around the digital sector when they decide to start a business on their own, there should be a good number who should go into the challenging field of agribusiness, like NorthStar, which also has a lot of room for digitalization and other forms of modern technology. In fact, I already visited a cold storage plant that NorthStar has built in Bulacan that can be powered by solar energy. There is no limit to the possible diversification of a start-up that goes into the agribusiness industry. The tribe of Tony Ng should increase if we are going to significantly improve the productivity of the entire agribusiness sector, starting of course at the farming and fishing levels.
MEAT RETAILER North Star Meat Merchants, Inc. is planning to establish distribution hubs in Iloilo and Palawan as part of its expansion efforts, the company’s chief executive officer said.
The company intends to put up distribution hubs in Puerto Princesa and Coron in Palawan and Iloilo, North Star Meat Chief Executive Officer Anthony Ng said at a recent virtual briefing.
“We are eyeing to improve our network. But these are just plans. It can change. We’re looking at Iloilo and Palawan,” Mr. Ng said.
The company’s main cold storage warehouse and meat cutting plant, which has a capacity of four million kilograms, is in Tabang, Bulacan. It also has a cold storage facility in Cebu which can store 858,000 kilograms of meat.
The company’s distribution hubs also serve as the base for its retail operations, according to Mr. Ng.
“It is capable of distribution and also has meat fabrication rooms for retail. That is where we do our cutting and packing of frozen meat for dispensing to convenience stores,” he said.
“If I am allowed to be a little bit ambitious, then I want to break ground next year at least,” he added.
Meanwhile, North Star Meat Chief Financial Officer Jed Tan said the company sees a “very positive” outlook for 2022 in terms of sales following the increase in the purchasing power of customers amid the country’s ongoing economic recovery.
Mr. Tan added that the company is targeting P9.1-billion worth of sales for 2021, an improvement from the P6 billion recorded in 2020.
“During the Christmas (season), the company’s sales are typically at least 50% higher. On top of that, we also have restaurant clients that have been ordering a lot since the economy opened up,” Mr. Tan said.
Previously, the company announced its intention to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) to raise up to P4 billion for the expansion of its cold storage capacity to six million kilograms by 2022.
Mr. Ng said during the briefing that the planned IPO is crucial to North Star Meat, adding that it will enable the company to grow.
The company’s products are a combination of imported and local supply, he said, adding that imports are sourced from Europe and North America, while local products come from the Visayas and Mindanao.
North Star Meat is an end-to-end fresh and frozen meat retailer that operates in all SM markets, including WalterMart and Alfarmart, across the Philippines. It has 397 meat shops and over 2,200 skilled butchers.
North Star Meat Merchants, the company behind SM Bonus meats and the fried chicken in 7-Eleven, is eyeing to expand its capacity to 6 million kilograms per month by next year to address growing demand for its products.
That is about 36 percent higher than the combined cold storage capacity of its facilities in Bulacan and Cebu of 4.4 million kgs a month.
Anthony Ng, North Star president, in a press briefing on Tuesday, said the company registered compounded annual growth rate in revenues of 24.5 percent over the last five years.
The company sources meat products from local producers and from imports.
A partner of SM Group for 20 years, North Star is a leading provider of frozen and fresh meat to around 383 SM supermarket branches, growing in tandem with the chain. Ninety percent of its business is with SM.
To finance the expansion, Ng said North Star plans to raise as much as P4 billion in an initial public offering by next year.
North Star Meat Merchants sells around 1 kg of meat per second and has 2,000 outlets nationwide. It has 2,500 employees.
North Star Meat Merchants Inc., a leading end-to-end frozen and fresh meat supplier in the Philippines, plans to raise up to P4 billion from an initial public offering early next year, a top executive said Wednesday.
NorthStar president Anthony Ng said in a virtual press briefing the company would conduct a maiden share offering to expand its cold storage capacity to 6 million kilograms a month by next year.
“We need a bigger war chest to grow parallel with our clients. As an end-to-end logistics firm, we need infrastructure, like cold storage facility, delivery and equipment which are very costly,” Ng said.
He said the group was also looking at mergers and acquisitions to expand product lines to be more efficient and add value to the business.
NorthStar is the leading provider of frozen and fresh meat to around 383 SM supermarket branches, being the major supplier to SM Bonus, United Steaks and Waltermart.
It said 90 percent of its business are with SM supermarkets and affiliate stores, including Alfamart and Savemore.
Ng said he has been in partnership with the SM group for more than 20 years and his contracts are renewed on a yearly basis.
NorthStar reported net income of P237 million and revenues of P6 billion in 2020. This year, the company expects sales to reach P9.1 billion, with close to 400 stores.
The company said that in the last five years, it registered compounded annual growth rate in revenues of 24.5 percent.
NorthStar is in talks with BDO Capital and Investments Corp. to be underwriter for the IPO that will have a public float of 20 percent.
NorthStar started out in 1999 as Ng’s undergraduate Entrepreneurial Management thesis in college which entailed opening a meat shop in partnership with SM Iloilo.
The business grew, reaching P1 million sales per month by 2000. It sources meat products from local producers and importers.
The combined cold storage capacity of its facilities in Bulacan and Cebu is about 4.4 million kilos per month.
Market Edge: Northstar Meat Merchants CEO Anthony Ng says demand for meat is steadily rising through the years. He also douses concerns on meat supply for the holiday season, saying it is more than enough amid the Agriculture Department's importation and repopulation program.