PCC okays ALI purchase of 290-ha of CAT land

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has approved the acquisition by Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) of approximately 290 hectares of land of Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), located in Barangay Central, San Miguel, Tarlac City, Tarlac.

In the Commission Decision signed on March 6, the Mergers and Acquisitions Office (MAO) of the PCC found that the transaction does not result in substantial lessening of competition in their respective relevant markets.

“The parties are not operating in the same geographic market,” cited the ALI-CAT decision.

ALI is a publicly-listed corporation in the Philippines. It is primarily engaged in the planning and development of large-scale, integrated estates, having a mix of use for the sale of residential lots and buildings, office buildings, and commercial and industrial lots, leasing of commercial and office spaces and the development, operation, and management of hotels and resorts.

ALI is also engaged in property management, construction, and other businesses like retail and healthcare.

CAT is also a publicly-listed corporation in the country and primarily engaged in the manufacturing of sugar and all its by-products. Its facilities include the sugar milling and refinery, distillery and carbon dioxide plants located in Tarlac.

The PCC also approved the acquisition by Fullerton Healthcare Corporation Limited (Fullerton) of 60% of the issued and outstanding capital shares in Asalus Corporation (Asalus), Avega Managed Care, Inc. (Avega), and Aventus Medical Care, Inc. (Aventus).

Asalus, Avega, and Aventus are domestic corporations who are related parties. Following the transaction, Fullerton owns 60% of the issued and outstanding capital shares of Asalus, Avega, and Aventus.

“No overlaps exist between the parties in the domestic geographic market in health maintenance organization (HMO), third-party administration (TPA) products, and clinical and drug testing laboratories,” the decision read.

Fullerton is a foreign corporation, and through its subsidiaries, engages principally in the provision of enterprise healthcare services and specialty service in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Asalus Corporation is operating under the trade name of “Intellicare,” which was incorporated primarily to engage in the business of developing, maintaining, and promoting integrated medical and health maintenance services. It offers HMO products and standard full HMO services.

Avega is engaged in business of developing, maintaining, and promoting integrated medical and health maintenance services, with the aim of providing a comprehensive, systematic and prevention-oriented concept of medical and health maintenance program, through the accreditation, integration and professional maintenance of the services of healthcare facilities and providers. It primarily offers TPA type of HMO product.

Aventus is engaged in the business of establishing, owning, and managing medical clinics and medical or clinical laboratories, including drug testing laboratories, and providing medical and healthcare services and products.

PCC, the country’s anti-trust body, is mandated under the Philippine Competition Act to review mergers and acquisitions, including joint ventures, that meet the P1-billion threshold to ensure that these deals will not harm the interest of consumers.