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Antitrust agency consents to GT Capital's divorce from Pro-Friends.

Ty family-led conglomerate GT Capital Holdings has obtained clearance from the country's antitrust agency to sell back its 51-percent stake in mass housing developer Property Company of Friends (Pro-Friends) to its former controlling shareholder.

The clearance from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is one of the conditions for the closing of this transaction, which will allow GT Capital to get P20 billion worth of real estate assets in consideration for the stake that it will give up.

The PCC cleared the transaction in a decision dated July 4, GT Capital disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday.

The redemption of shares, which would result in Maplecrest Group Inc. obtaining sole control over Pro-Friends, 'will not likely result in substantial lessening of competition,' the PCC said.

'This is because (1) there are no horizontal or vertical overall between Pro-Friends and Maplecrest's respective business activities; and (2) the transaction will not alter the current structure of the market,' it added.

The assets that GT Capital will get consist of 702 hectares of real estate located mostly within Pro-Friends flagship Lancaster New City (LNC), its largest property project.

GT Capital, which has invested a sum of P16 billion in Pro-Friends in the last four years, will also get some 102 hectares described as 'choice' properties within Metro Manila.

From the point of view of GT Capital, rising land values amid massive infrastructure-building in the country means that a developer can draw more benefits if it uses the land for higher-end developments. While Pro-Friends prefers to stick to its expertise, which is affordable housing, GT Capital plans to use the extra landbank for other property ventures.

GT Capital first invested in Pro-Friends in 2015 with a 22.68-percent interest and acquired an additional 28.3-percent stake in 2016.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 9, 2019
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