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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
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Stop cement cartel, President asked


BAGUIO CITY: Construction industry stakeholders and property developers called on President Rodrigo Duterte to set aside the controversial $2.15-billion merger and acquisition deal between
San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Holcim Philippines Inc. (HPI) to prevent the emerging cartel in the cement industry.

They said the largest merger and acquisition deal “will definitely result in a cartel because SMC owns majority of the Pangasinan-based Northern Cement and the Bulacan-based Eagle Cement.
This will be grossly disadvantageous to ordinary consumers and the government’s Build, Build, Build Program.”

In a separate statement, the groups said, “One of the negative effects of SMC’s impending monopoly of the cement industry will be the uncontrollable increase in the prices of cement that will affect of the construction houses, commercial and industrial buildings, and even government infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and school buildings.”

They also challenged militant groups to help them bring the matter to the immediate attention of the President and the Philippine Competition Commission.

Under the merger deal, First Stronghold Cement Industries Inc. will purchase 85.73 percent of HPI, reported as a wholly owned unit of San Miguel Equity Investment Inc., a subsidiary of SMC.

SMC reportedly won the auction of HPI, which was pitted against Anhui Conch, the largest cement manufacturer in Mainland China in the final round of the auction of the country’s largest cement manufacturer.

Lafarge-Holcim recently sold its assets in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

SMC reportedly owns at least 70 percent of Northern Cement and has a huge share in Eagle Cement. With the current set-up of the latter’s ownership, the proposed merger of SMC and HPI will allegedly result in a cartel.

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