PCC allows SM Investments to buy dormitory developer

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), an independent regulator that protects markets from anti-competitive behavior, gave SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) the green light to acquire a 61.2% stake in dormitory builder Philippines Urban Living Solutions Incorporated (PULS).

If pursued, this will mark the SM group's entry into the country's rental housing market.

The PCC announced on its website that its Mergers and Acquisitions Office found that the planned transaction would not lead to substantial lessening of competition in the market. (READ: Property, banking fuel SM Investments' net income)

"After the acquisition, sufficient competitive constraints on the merged firm remains from other market participants," the PCC said in a note.

SMIC is the holding company of the SM group, which has equity investments in property, retail, financial services, and mining, among others.

It was in October 2016 when SMIC proposed to acquire 61.2% of PULS, a property developer engaged in leasing bed-spaces and units in purpose-built dormitories around the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) area in Taguig City.

PULS opened its first building in 2013, and currently owns and manages 5 buildings with over 1,000 beds. All buildings are operating under its MyTown rental brand.

The developer earlier said it targets to increase capacity to 6,000 dormitory beds by 2018.

Under the Philippine Competition Act, the PCC should be notified for mergers or acquisitions with transaction values above P1 billion, before the transaction is sealed.

In its note on Saturday, March 18, the antitrust regulator reminded companies that it has the power to require access to relevant business information. – Rappler.com