Robinsons acquires Visayas hardware chain

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Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI), the retail business of the Gokongwei family, is set to expand into the Visayas region with the acquisition of a major stake in a hardware chain that has operations in Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, among other cities.

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Through its subsidiary Robinson’s Handyman, Inc., RRHI recently signed a memorandum of agreement that allows the listed firm to acquire a 67-percent stake in A.M. Builders’ Depot, a Visayas-based hardware chain.

To date, A.M Builders operate 17 stores with a total gross selling area of about 35,000 square meters in Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete and other key cities in the Visayas.

A.M Builders commenced operations in 1998 with tiles, bathroom fixtures, lumber and roofing materials as its core products.

“The acquisition places Robinsons Retail in a unique position, giving Robinsons Retail a strong presence in both DIY [do-it-yourself] hardware and builders [big box]hardware retail formats,” the company told the local bourse on Monday.

Arsenio Rafael 3rd, president of A.M Builders, said the synergy with Robinsons Retail’s DIY expertise in modern hardware retailing, its extensive store network, strong balance sheet and A.M Builders’ 17-year experience in the finishing construction materials industry will ensure the success of this partnership.

“The possibilities for this new partnership are endless as we improve and expand our product offerings,” Rafael said.

Robinsons Retail’s DIY business is currently comprised of three formats: Handyman Do it Best, True Value, and Howards Storage World, which have a combined number of stores of about 132.

“The acquisition will be a good addition to our retail portfolio as it will serve another segment of the fast growing retail market of the country,” Robina Gokongwei-Pe, president and chief operating officer of Robinsons Retail, said.

The last acquisition deal of RRHI happened earlier this year when it purchased a Luzon-based small supermarket chain.

Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Robinsons Supermarket Corp., RRHI struck a deal to acquire a 100 percent interest on Jaynith’s Supermarket, a three-store supermarket chain owned and operated by JAS 8 Retailing Management Corp.

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