Blocked merger 'lost opportunity' for sugar industry in Southern Luzon: RHI

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2019 01:05 PM

MANILA - Roxas Holdings Inc. (RHI) on Friday said the antitrust body's decision to block the Universal Robina Corporation's (URC) proposed acquisition of its subsidiary sugar miller Central Azucarera Don Pedro Inc. (CADPI) is an "opportunity lost" for the industry in Southern Luzon. 

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on Thursday blocked the merger between the 2 sugar milling companies, after investigations found that the buyout would "monopolize" the business in Southern Luzon.

But in a disclosure to the stock exchange, RHI said the merger would have stirred productivity for the "extremely under-utilized facilities" of both URC and CADPI.

"The group is saddened by the unfavorable decision from the Commission because of the lost opportunity to advance the sugar industry in the Southern Luzon area," RHI said. 

"We strongly believe consolidation of mills will bring about efficiencies for the benefit of all stakeholders," it added.

Sugar cane supply in the area is in "continuous precipitous decline," the statement said. 

The company said it would continue to operate its facility in Batangas while exploring other options to enhance its overall operations. 

Meanwhile, URC on Thursday said it has accepted PCC's decision. Blocking the merger "does not materially affect" its business, the company said. 

URC is a food and beverage company while RHI operates an integrated sugarcane milling and refining plant and is engaged in trading raw and refined sugar and molasses.