The Philippine Competition Commission said it will soon start the review of the merger between San Miguel Corp. and Holcim Philippines Inc. after both parties issued a notification to the anti-trust body on June 6.
The agency said the Mergers & Acquisitions Office was evaluating the sufficiency of the parties’ submissions prior to phase 1 of the merger review.
San Miguel has a pending proposal to acquire the assets of multinational cement conglomerate Holcim in the Philippines.
PCC is mandated under the Philippine Competition Act to review mergers and acquisitions to ensure that they will not result in the substantial lessening of the competition in the relevant market and harm the interest of consumers
The agency clarified that the merger-specific review of the SMC-Holcim transaction was different from the ongoing investigation on the possible cartel in the cement industry.
San Miguel earlier expressed optimism the PCC approve the acquisition of an 87.5-percent stake in Holcim Philippines Inc. by unit First Stronghold Cement Industries Inc.
FSCII, a wholly owned unit of San Miguel-owned San Miguel Equity Investments Inc., signed last month an agreement to acquire an 87.5-percent interest in Holcim Philippines, the local unit of Switzerland-based LafargeHolcim Ltd.
San Miguel said Holcim Philippines had an enterprise value of $2.15 billion.
“Do you know that 35 percent of cement being sold in the Philippines today are imported cement? And the major players in the Philippines―Holcim, Cemex, Lafarge-CRH and Japanese firm Taiyo, and another Taiwanese―they are all foreigners. Don’t you want a Filipino to acquire it?” Ang said.
Ang said Holcim controlled less than 20 percent of the cement market in the country which should not pose a problem.