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PCC approves GT Capital-Pro Friends deal

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GT Capital Holdings, Inc. has secured approval from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for its disposal of its 51% stake in Property Company of Friends, Inc. (Pro-Friends).

In a statement issued Monday, the competition body said it has approved the transaction on July 4. This covers Pro-Friends’ buyback of Series A Preferred Shares from GT Capital, in exchange for 702.44 hectares of land valued at about P20 billion.

The property assets are mostly located in Pro-Friends’ Lancaster New City development in Cavite.

Maplecrest Group, Inc. will obtain sole control over Pro-Friends after the transaction, since it already owns 49% of the company prior to GT Capital’s divestment. The PCC noted this will not likely result in substantial lessening of competition.

“The merger review found no horizontal or vertical overlaps between Pro-Friends and Maplecrest’s respective business activities and the transaction will not alter the current structure of the market,” the PCC said.

GT Capital first acquired a 22.7% stake in Pro-Friends back in 2015. It then increased its ownership by purchasing an additional 28.3% of the company in 2016, in a bid to complement the offerings of the conglomerate’s property arm, Federal Land, Inc.




GT Capital President Carmelo Maria Luza Bautista earlier said they decided to divest from Pro-Friends since the rising property prices in Cavite no longer make it suitable for affordable housing projects.

The group plans to transform their land bank in Cavite into a masterplanned community moving forward, and is now on the lookout for local or foreign partners to develop portions of the property.

Meanwhile, the PCC also approved Saudi Arabian Oil Company’s (Saudi Aramco) acquisition of Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), a chemical and industrial polymer manufacturer that is present in the country.

The PCC said the proposed transaction, which involves Saudi Aramco’s purchase of a 70% majority stake in SABIC from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, will not likely result in the substantial lessening of competition since the parties have limited presence in the country.

Saudi Aramco is a joint stock company mainly involved in the exploration, production, and marketing of crude oil and in the production and marketing of refined products and petrochemicals.

Meanwhile, PIF is a fully-owned wealth fund by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which invests in telecoms, aerospace, energy, green technologies, and security.

“Post-transaction, there remains competitive constraint by other market participants in the market for different types of polymers such as high density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, homopolymers, polyethylene or polypropylene,” the commission said. — Arra B. Francia

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