MANILA - The Philippine Competition Commission said Tuesday it "cleared" the proposed acquisition of a controlling stake in Manila Water by billionaire Enrique Razon's Trident Water Holdings Inc citing it was "unlikely" to result in lessening of competition.
The port magnate's Prime Metroline Holdings Inc (PMHI) formed Trident Water for the acquisition of a controlling stake in the Ayala-led concessionaire.
The transaction involves the purchase by Trident Water of a 51 percent voting interest in Manila Water via Trident Water's 820 million common shares of stock subscription of Manila Water's unissued authorized capital stock.
Manila Water's subsidiary, Philwater Holdings Co is also set to grant proxy in favor of Trident Water over the seller's preferred shares to allow the Razon-led firm to achieve a 51 percent voting interest, the statement said.
"In its Commission Decision, the PCC finds that the transaction will not likely lead to substantial lessening of competition in the market of the supply of raw water to the East Zone Concession Area," the PCC said.
Manila Water is the sole water distributor in the east zone, the antitrust body said. Concessions are regulated by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems, it said.
Concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad have been in a row with President Rodrigo Duterte over alleged "onerous" deals that were deemed disadvantageous to the government.
Billionaire Enrique Razon has business interests in hotel, gaming, mining, infrastructure, power and port services.