PCC prepares review of SMC-Holcim deal
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - June 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the government’s anti-trust agency, is now ready to start the review of the $2.15 billion acquisition of Holcim Philippines by conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC). 

SMC and the Holcim Group have notified PCC about the acquisition. 

“The PCC’s Mergers and Acquisitions Office is currently evaluating the sufficiency of the parties’ submissions. Once found sufficient, the phase 1 merger review of the transaction will proceed,” said PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan.

The PCC is mandated under the Philippine Competition  Act to review mergers and acquisitions to ensure that they will not result in substantial lessening of competition in the relevant market and harm the interest of consumers. 

SMC president and COO Ramon Ang said Holcim accounts for only a small percentage of the cement market in the Philippines at less than 20 percent.

He also said that prior to the acquisition, SMC has no relevant presence in the cement industry but merely small stakes in some companies such as Northern Cement,  which is owned by SMC chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.

Ang vowed to provide the lowest cement prices from Holcim to help support public and private projects.

He said SMC has also done this in the power sector when it became the country’s biggest power producer.

SMC’s First Stronghold Cement Industries Inc. won the bid to acquire Holcim Philippines. 

First Stronghold is a wholly owned subsidiary of San Miguel Equity Investments Inc., which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of SMC. 

The deal is expected to be completed this year.

SMC acquired Holcim Philippines from Lafarge Holcim Ltd., Europe’s biggest cement maker. 

The Switzerland-based cement company received a lot of offers but SMC gave the best option to further grow the business, Lafarge has said.

Industry sources said SMC beat foreign giants that vied for Lafarge such as Japan’s Taiheiyo Cement Corp., Thailand’s Siam City Cement and Anhui Cement Corp. of China.

In the Philippines, there are eight integrated cement manufacturers namely Holcim, Republic Cement, Cemex, Taiheiyo, Northern Cement, Eagle Cement, Goodfound and Mabuhay which operate a total of 16 integrated cement plants and three cement grinding plants all over the country. Big Boss Cement, a new entrant, opened a cement grinding plant in Pampanga in 2018.

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