THE health care arm of Ayala Corp. (AC) said it has gained the Philippine Competition Commission’s (PCC) approval to increase its stake in the Generika group of companies.

The listed firm told the stock exchange Tuesday Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (AC Health) was given the nod by the anti-trust body to subscribe to an increase in shares in Generika.

“With this, AC Health will proceed with the closing of the increase in the stake from 50% to 52.5% as regards Actimed, Inc., Novelis Solutions, Inc. and Pharm Gen Ventures Corp.,” it said.

It noted the increase in stake in Erikagen, Inc., which is also under the Generika group, is “still subject to certain conditions precedent.”

The listed conglomerate first announced the planned increase in stake in Generika in March, where it said it will subscribe to a total of 970,412 shares in the group, divided into 706,579 shares in Actimed, 155,921 shares in Novelis, 65,807 shares in Pharm Gen Ventures and 42,105 shares in Erikagen.

AC Health President and Chief Executive Officer Paolo Maximo F. Borromeo had earlier said the company expects the additional capital from the increased stake in Generika will help its store and product expansion.

“We continue to see increasing demand for quality generic medicines and are excited about Generika’s growth potential. The additional capital will help us with our store and product expansion efforts,” he told BusinessWorld in March.

AC Health started acquiring shares in the Generika group of companies in 2015, and had since planned to expand its stores to 1,000 from the current 800 by 2020.

Aside from Generika, AC Health also has a 75% stake in Bacolod-based Negros Grace Pharmacy, Inc. and operates FamilyDoc clinics across Urban Luzon.

AC booked an attributable net income of P8.03 billion in the January to March period, 5% up from in the same period last year, driven by the growth of its property, banking and telecommunications units. — Janina C. Lim