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RHI: PCC move deprives S. Luzon sugar sector chance to advance

Roxas Holdings Inc. (RHI) said it had lost the opportunity to advance the sugar industry in Southern Luzon, after the country’s antitrust body blocked its deal with Gokongwei-led Universal Robina Corp (URC).

RHI said this in a stock market disclosure on Friday, a day after the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) announced that URC’s proposed acquisition of Central Azucarera de Don Pedro Inc. (Cadpi) was blocked to keep URC from becoming a monopoly at the expense of sugarcane planters.

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Cadpi is a subsidiary of the country’s largest integrated sugar business and biggest ethanol producer, RHI.

“The [RHI] Group is saddened by the unfavorable decision of the commission because of the lost opportunity to advance the sugar industry in the Southern Luzon area,” it said.

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The company claimed that both URC and Cadpi were “currently extremely under-utilized” because of the scarce sugar cane supply in the area.

“We strongly believe consolidation of mills will bring about efficiencies for the benefit of all stakeholders,” it added, noting it would operate Cadpi as it explores options to further enhance overall operations in Batangas and Negros.

URC, for its part, has already accepted the decision.

PCC Chair Arsenio Balisacan said on the sidelines of a press briefing on Friday that the window for further talks about this particular transaction was already closed.

Nevertheless, the parties could still file a separate notification if they would restructure their business model.

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TAGS: Roxas Holdings Inc., sugar, Universal Robina Corp.
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