PCC serves notice to SMC, Holcim on planned merger
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - May 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is reminding San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Holcim Philippines Inc. (HPI) to notify the antitrust body of the planned acquisition by SMC of the cement manufacturer to be able to review the transaction.

“To date, the PCC has not yet received the notification by SMC and HPI  for mandatory merger review,” the antitrust body said in a statement yesterday.

PCC said merging firms that meet the notification thresholds have to inform the body of their transaction within 30 days from signing their definitive agreement.

The statement was issued as SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang earlier said, he is confident the PCC would give its approval to the transaction involving SMC’s acquisition of HPI.

Earlier this month, the LafargeHolcim Group signed an agreement with SMC for the latter’s acquisition of an 85.7 percent stake in HPI.

Under the Philippine Competition Act, the PCC is mandated to undertake a review of mergers and acquisitions to make sure such would not put to risk consumer interest.

“The merger-specific review of the SMC-HPI transaction is different from the ongoing investigation on possible cartel in the cement industry. Unlike cartel investigations which look into past conduct, merger reviews are carried out to determine any competition concerns before the transaction is consummated to prevent potential damage to consumers,” the PCC said.

In its review of mergers and acquisitions, the PCC takes into account both the concerns of businesses and the public to ensure the deal would not lead to reduced competition in the market.

“With the PCA and the rules of merger procedure in place, every M&A (merger and acquisition) notification will be evaluated in a fair and transparent manner. If there is nothing anticompetitive in a transaction, then PCC would approve it in a timely manner. If competition issues arise, the law allows for possible remedies to address the concerns,” PCC said.

It added the antitrust body does not encourage expression of speculation on the result of the review.

“Parties should instead comply and submit notification requirements in accordance with the rules,” PCC said.

HPI has cement manufacturing facilities in La Union, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental  and Davao.

SMC, meanwhile, is involved in the cement business through unit Northern Cement.

Eagle Cement Corp., another cement manufacturer, is controlled by Ang’s family.

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