Phimco’s factory was the first match factory in the Philippines. It began operations in
1905 under the Gsell Brothers of Zurich, Switzerland. It was in 1914 that it assumed
the name of Philippine Match.
In 1926, the factory was acquired by the Swedish Match Company and became the Philippine Match Company, Ltd. (Phimco). This ushered in a new era of modernization in match manufacturing with the installation of Swedish machinery and the infusion of their technical expertise.
With the outbreak of World War II, match production was maintained, although at a reduced level from 1942. The factory was constrained to stop in mid-1944. Production resumed after the war in January 1946 and the expansion continued. Phimco purchased the equipment of the defunct Pacific Match Company in 1966, later discarded the old machines and built up a new match factory in Magallanes, near Butuan City, Agusan del Norte. It was also in the late 1960’s that Phimco branched out to other fields, which included flexible packaging and the manufacture of business gifts. In 1973, the manufacture of lighters began through the Swedish Match branch located in its compound in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila. In 1977, the parent company of Phimco, Swedish Match Company sold the match factory in Magallanes. Nevertheless, the growth of the company by then had been phenomenal, from an authorized capitalization of P 800,000 in 1914 to P 75 Million in 1978. In that same year, Phimco was among the top 200 Philippine corporations.
In 1980, the Philippine Match Company, Ltd. was reincorporated as Phimco Industries, Inc., one the 150 subsidiaries and affiliated companies of Swedish Match AB, based in Stockholm and operating in more than 40 countries. This change in name was a natural outcome of its development from
a one-product company to a multidivisional group serving consumers and industrial markets.
Its corporate structure then comprised of the Match Division (Phimco and Ott-Louie), the Lighter Division (Feudor, Phils.), the Packaging Division (Akerlund & Rausing, Phils.), Trading Division
and the Forestry Division (Provident Tree Farms, Inc., and Swedish Match Hilleshog, Phils., Inc.)
In the late 1980’s, Swedish Match AB was acquired by Stora, another Swedish company. Stora divested itself of the flexible packaging company in the Philippines. It was subsequently owned by Metro Pacific and was renamed AR Packaging Corporation. Swedish Match also opted to sell Phimco Industries, Inc. to its present owners, as part of its move to divest itself to its major match factories worldwide. It however kept its lighter factory in the Philippines, which became known as Swedish Match Philippines, Inc.
In the 1990’s Phimco Industries, Inc. has charted its own course independent of Swedish Match. It has undertaken an aggressive modernization project for its match manufacturing operations to ensure global competitiveness. Among its sizable investments are:
b.) two new ARENCO assembly lines, one of which is equipped with PLC (Programmable Logic Control) for better productivity, and
c.) a splint factory located in its tree plantation in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur to drastically reduce the deterioration of wood during transport and ensure freshness and strength of its matchsticks.