Ricardo Po, Sr. is the founder and Chairman of the privately-held Century Pacific Group of Companies, currently the largest manufacturer of canned food in the Philippines. Its brands consist of Century Tuna, Argentina Corned Beef, 555 Sardines, Blue Bay Tuna, Angel Filled Milk, and Birch Tree Powedered Milk. Because of his success in the tuna industry, Po has been dubbed as “Mr. Tuna”.
In 2010, he and Butch Campos, son of United Laboratories founder Jose Campos, attempted to buy the Purefoods brand from San Miguel Corporation. The sale however did not push through.
In 1947, Po and his mother migrated to the Philippines from China. The only language he knows that time was Fookien, Chinese, and so he learned English with the help of a candle and Chinese-English dictionary.
Po took up Industrial Chemistry at the University of Sto. Tomas while he worked as a translator, journalist for Great China Daily News. With no money for enrolment, Po unfortunately had to drop out. He went to establish his own advertising company that would cater to the Chinese-Filipino businessmen that wants to promote and advertise their products in English.
In 19780, Po established the Century Canning Corporation as a pioneering tuna facility focusing mainly on processing and exporting tuna to the world. But it was only in 1986 that Po introduced the product to the Filipino market.
In 1983, Po launched the 555 Sardines and the brand became one of the top brands in canned sardines. In 1995, he launched the Argentina Corned Beef as his entry into the meat processing business.
In 2001, he launched the Yoshinoya restaurants, which is renowned fast food chain in Japan. Also in the same year, Po acquired the Birch Tree brand from the Sy Chiong Family. And over the years, Po, through his Century Pacific Group launched other brands such as Angel Milk, Century Gourmet Bangus Fillet, Kaffe de Oro and Home Pride, Century Marinated Bangus and WOW brands.
Trade war with CDO
In 2009, CDO Foodsphere, Inc. and Century Pacific Group were engaged in a trade war. CDO accused Century Pacific of employing unfair trade practices by hindering the latter’s production supply and distribution to suppress the competition and maintain a monopoly of tuna production and offering dealers and retailers voluntary loyalty program. Under the program, Century Pacific is offering rebates or credit memo to retailers that will only carry the Century brands.
Consortium with Unilab
In August 2010, Butch Campos, son of United Laboratories owner Jose Campos attempted to acquire the Pure Foods brands which include Purefoods, Magnolia, Monterey, Star, San Mig Coffee, and B-Meg brands from the San Miguel Food Group. The consortium is between Ricardo Po’s Century Pacific Group and the Campos’ Del Monte Pacific Ltd. However, the deal hit a snag when the buyers wanted to acquire 100% of Purefoods when 49% was only up for sale.
- Century Pacific Group official website
- San Marino lodges new complaint versus century tuna
- Pure food share sale planned as bidders come up short
- UST 400: Ricardo Po
- The Philippine Star: Crisis should unite people