THE Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has approved Global Business Power Corporation’s (GBP) acquisition of a 50% stake in Alsons Thermal Energy Corp. (ATEC), which holds the Alcantaras’ baseload coal-fired power plant assets.

In a decision issued on Monday, PCC said the acquisition was approved since the transaction “does not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the relevant market.”

“There appears to be neither increased ability nor incentive to engage in foreclosure, post-acquisition, in the power generation market […] and there appear[s] to be sufficient post-acquisition competitive constraints from competitors in the power generation market,” it said in the decision signed by PCC Chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan and three other commissioners.

The subsidiary of Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. last June signed the share purchase agreement with GBP, a leading power producer in the Visayas. 

ATEC owns 75% of the 210-megawatt (MW) Sarangani Energy Corp. coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani province.

The acquisition will give GBP access to Mindanao, where ACR has a stronger hold, namely in Zamboanga, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Butuan.

GBP is an associate of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC). MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato