The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recently gave the go-signal for Netherlands-based Mulgrave Corporation B.V. to increase ownership in Cebu-based Rose Pharmacy from the current 49 percent to 51 percent.

The firm was recently prequalified as a foreign retailer by the BOI in line with the provisions of the Republic Act No.8762, otherwise known as the Retail Trade Liberalization Act.

“This reflects the sustained confidence of foreign investors in the country’s economy,” said Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo, adding that the company is likewise seriously considering shelling out additional capital placements and set the stage for additional acquisition and expansion of retail outlets in the future given the growing domestic demand.

“The BOI is seeing increasing interest of foreign investors in the Philippines to access the expanding domestic market” said Undersecretary Rodolfo. He cited the investment momentum off the heels of the latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data which showed the surge of net foreign direct investments (FDI) inflows to US$2.017 billion in October 2017, a threefold increase from $670 million in the same month in 2016. Net equity placements paced the exponential FDI inflows with US$1.529 billion in October 2017 which is 25 times more than the US$60 million registered in October 2016.

FDI inflows has already reached US$7.9 billion from January to October 2017, up by 20.5 percent from US$6.5 billion the previous year. A sizeable portion of additional equity went to the power sector although other industries such as manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade got capital boost as well. The BSP has also said that the upsurge in FDI validates the bullishness of foreign investors in the country’s solid macroeconomic fundamentals and growth opportunities.

Mulgrave Corporation B.V. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bermuda-based Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. (DFIHL) and together with other DFIHL associates, joint ventures and subsidiaries, they formed the Dairy Farm Group which operates supermarkets, hypermarkets, health and beauty stores, convenience stores, home furnishing stores and restaurants around Asia. The Group carries well-known brands like Wellcome, Giant, Cold Storage, Jason’s Marketplace and Maxim’s. It also operates 7-Eleven and Ikea stores in Asia.

In the Philippines, the Group has substantial ownership in Wellcome, Rustan’s Supermakets/ Shopwise (66 percent stake) and Rose Pharmacy which is one of the country’s largest pharmaceutical retailers with 252 branches nationwide. Other health and beauty stores under Dairy Farm include Mannings, Guardian and GNC (General Nutrition Center) Live Well.♦