PCC notification not required for Robinsons’ Ministop buyout

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) yesterday said there is no need for Robinsons Supermarket Corp. to notify the antitrust body of its buyout of its partner in convenience store chain Ministop Philippines.

“Based on PCC’s merger rules, the Commission acknowledges that Robinsons’ current majority stake in Ministop already affords them control, and Robinsons is no longer required to notify the proposed acquisition to the antitrust commission,” PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

Earlier, Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI) said its wholly owned subsidiary Robinsons Supermarket will acquire the 40 percent stake of its joint venture partner Ministop Japan in Robinsons Convenience Stores Inc. (RSCI) next month.

The acquisition will increase the Gokongwei-led firm’s stake to 100 percent from 60 percent in RSCI, which is the exclusive franchisee of Ministop in the country.

While there is no need for the transaction to secure approval from the PCC, Balisacan said it takes note of the scope of Robinsons’ portfolio in the consumer retail sector, which includes supermarkets, department stores, and community malls, among others.

He said the PCC’s merger reviews take a look at the effects and changes of market behavior under new owners or stakeholders.

“This transaction may result in a change in ownership of a significant portion of equity, but it is not likely to have an effect on the economic behavior of the target firm,” he said.

He added the PCC would continue monitoring acquisitions of notable brands and sizable firms to prevent a reduction in market competition.

Last year, the PCC only received four merger and acquisition (M&A) notifications with a total transaction value of P470 billion, given the higher merger notification threshold in place.

The Bayanihan 2 Act exempts M&As with transaction values below P50 billion from compulsory notification with the PCC within two years from the effectivity of the law.

Earlier, Balisacan said the PCC would continue its review of M&As under lower thresholds once the two-year period under the Bayanihan 2 expires in September this year.

Prior to the Bayanihan 2 law,  M&As that meet the P2.4 billion threshold for size of transaction and P6 billion for the size of party, need to be notified with the PCC.


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