The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the country’s competition watchdog, has shown its concern with regards to the proposed acquisition of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) of Holcim Philippines, Inc. (HPI) for $2.15 billion. According to it, the transaction will reduce the competition in the grey cement market particularly in Luzon. Per the statement of the watchdog’s mergers and acquisitions office, the said buyout will substantially result in lessening of competition in the industry of grey cement both in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Northeast Luzon.
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Last May, it was reported that SMC, the largest conglomerate in the Philippines, has bought Holcim Philippines, for $2.15 billion from Lafarge Holcim in Europe. This event was significant for the company as it made SMC the biggest cement player in the country. It was also disclosed on May 10 that Lafarge Holcim has signed an agreement with SMC to acquire an 85.7% stake in Holcim Philippines. This would equate to 5.5 billion shares with a per-share price of P16.80. Holcim has declared an exit from the fierce competition in the South East Asian region.
The recent acquisition just proved that SMC beat foreign giants in the cement industry. It outperformed the Japanese company Taiheyo Cement Corporation and the Siam City Cement in Thailand and Anhui Cement Corporation in China. Lafarge Holcim disclosed that the exit from the stiff competition in South East Asia has not been bad for the fir. In fact, it was based on their portfolio review that they were able to reach a new stage to strengthen their financial capability. Holcim also had a previous transaction with Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. The sale of the stake was done on the purpose of solidifying the balance sheet of the firm.
After the acquisition, SMC is expected to create more opportunities nationwide as it strengthens its base in the cement industry. The recent expansion of SMC opens new doors not just for the firm itself but for the Philippine economy and investors as well. Because of the transaction, the firm is required to do a tender offer for the Holcim shares which are by the hands of its minority shareholders. The tender offer will be conducted after the final purchase price has been paid. This transaction would undergo the process of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).