As far as the Philippine Competition Commission is concerned, San Miguel Corp. and Holcim Philippines Inc. (HPI) failed to address the monopoly and potential collusion concerns it raised in relation to the $2.15 billion takeover of the cement firm.
“SMC’s decision not to proceed with the acquisition of HPI comes after the Commission rejected the parties’ several proposals for voluntary commitments, and after the parties had requested several extensions to file their required comment to the statement of concerns submitted by the PCC’s mergers and acquisitions office (MAO) to the Commission,” PCC said.
In particular, MAO said the buy-in would result in a monopoly in Northwest Luzon and increased market power and potential collusion among inter-related cement companies controlled by SMC in northeast Luzon, central Luzon and greater Metro Manila areas.
“The phase 2 review of the transaction was suspended upon the parties’ submission of voluntary commitments. PCC rejected the proposed commitments after they were found insufficient to address the competition concerns, reverting the transaction to Phase 2 review. The parties, however, have yet to file their respective comments to answer the competition concerns raised,” PCC said.
SMC had abandoned plans to acquire HPI after the agreement lapsed without getting the approval of the PCC.
PCC likewise noted that the May 10, 2020 deadline for completion of the deal was internally agreed upon by the parties and was within their prerogative to extend as needed.
“The PCC, as antitrust authority, acts in accordance with its statutory timelines…The PCC is cognizant of the changes in market conditions during these extraordinary times, and as such, supports the promotion of business and their respective re-calibration of decisions in response to these conditions,” the anti-trust watchdog said.