On February 8 in the year 1898, one of the foremost Filipino industrialists was born in Manila. His name was Andres Soriano Sr., the founder of A. Soriano Corporation (Anscor), a holding company. He was also one of the founders of Philippine Airlines.
Andres Soriano Sr. was the son of a Spanish engineer who married the scion of a prominent business-owning clan in the Philippines. He was educated in England and Spain and graduated with a degree in commerce in 1917. When he returned to the Philippines the following year, he joined San Miguel Corporation (SMC) as an accountant. Later, he rose to become the president in 1931. Under his leadership, SMC grew to become one of the biggest food and beverage companies in Asia. He purchased the bottling franchise of Coca-Cola and diversified into dairy products and ice cream.
In 1930, Andres Soriano founded Anscor as his vehicle to invest or acquire other companies. Through Anscor, Andres established several subsidiaries such as Bislig Bay (lumber), Paper Industries (pulp and paper), Atlas Consolidated (mining), Atlas Fertilizer, and Phelps Dodge (electrical wire and cable). All of these became dominant in their respective industries and entrenched Anscor as the most diversified industrial group in the immediate postwar era.
In 1941, Andres headed a group of businessmen who established Philippine Air Lines (PAL). After PAL bought the license of a dormant airline company, it bought or leased new aircraft and established itself as the Philippine national air carrier.
Andres died in 1964 at the age of 66. He was married to Carmen Montemar and they had two sons. His younger son, Andres Soriano Jr. succeeded him as CEO of Anscor and San Miguel. Since then, Anscor sold most of the subsidiaries except Phelps Dodge. Andres Jr. also sold his controlling interest in San Miguel in the early 1980s.