Anti-trust body voids shipping line acquisition

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 3) — The government's antitrust body nullified a shipping company acquisition in what it described as a "substantial lessening of competition" in roll-on, roll-off passenger services.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) voided the acquisition of Cebu-based Trans-Asia Shipping Lines Inc. by Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp.

PCC ordered Trans-Asia Shipping Lines, Chelsea Logistics Holdings and its parent Udenna Corp. to pay ₱22.8 million for failing to notify the commission of the transaction in December 2016.

On the other hand, the commission gave "conditional clearance" to Chelsea Holdings' acquisition of KGLI-NM Holdings Inc, which has majority control of shipping company 2Go.

The PCC decisions on both cases were released on June 28.

In a statement Wednesday, the PCC said its investigation revealed that "control of both 2Go and Trans-Asia by Chelsea would lead to a substantial lessening of competition affecting roll-on/roll-off passenger shipping services in Cebu-Cagayan De Oro, Cagayan De Oro-Cebu, Cebu-Ozamis, Ozamis-Cebu, Cebu-Iligan and Iligan-Cebu legs; and cargo shipping services in the same areas plus the Cebu-Zamboanga leg."

PCC added 2Go and Trans-Asia overlap or compete directly with each other in these routes.

It said with the nullification of the deal between Trans-Asia Shipping Lines and Chelsea Logistics Holdings, the overlaps with 2GO in the shipping and cargo services in the Visayas and Mindanao have been ruled out.

PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said all merger and acquisition notices under the agency's review are "evaluated in a fair and transparent manner with the public's welfare as foremost concern."

He added, "There are sanctions for violations, there are clearances when there are no competition concerns."

Chelsea is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Udenna. Through its subsidiaries, the holding company is engaged in maritime trade and shipping transport, among others. Trans-Asia is engaged in domestic passenger and cargo ferry services.