Competition watchdog clears URC's acquisition of sugar milling plants, land in Negros

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2020 03:38 PM

MANILA - The country’s antitrust watchdog said Monday it has cleared Universal Robina Corp’s acquisition of the assets of several companies in Negros Island.

The Philippine Competition Commission said it has approved URC’s acquisition of Central Azucarera de la Carlota (CA-Carlota) and Roxol Bioenergy Corp’s (Roxol) sugar milling and bioethanol distillery plants and its parcels of land, and shares held by Roxas Holdings, Inc. (RHI) in Najalin Agri-ventures (NAVI)

This was a year after the PCC disapproved a similar transaction by the same parties in Batangas.

“While PCC noted that URC and CA-Carlota are among the big players in the area, the review finds that the transaction does not lead to substantial lessening of competition in the sugarcane milling and tolling markets in Negros region, as well as the national markets for bioethanol, wholesale raw sugar, and molasses,” the PCC said.

The PCC said that unlike in the Batangas deal where sugar planters had to choose between 2 players, majority of Negros sugarcane farmers work in associations with bargaining power.

It said that in Negros, sugarcane planters can choose millers where they can get the best price for their produce. Millers meanwhile compete through prices and incentives.

With the approval of the deal, URC is set to acquire all buildings, refinery and milling plants, other assets of CA-Carlota. It will also get the bio-ethanol plant of Roxol, as well as 2 parcels of land in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental. URC shall also take 520,115 Najilin common shares held by RHI and its nominee shareholders.