URC, Roxas Holdings set to finalize asset sale deal

Universal Robina Corp. (URC) on Monday said it is pushing through with its deal with Roxas Holdings Inc. for the acquisition of the assets of Central Azucarera de la Carlota Inc. and Roxol Bioenergy Corp.

The deal involves the purchase of the sugar mill, bioethanol plant in La Carlota City in Negros Occidental and also shares held by Roxas Holdings in Najalin Agri-Ventures Inc. The company said the deal is pushing through after the companies secured a green light from the Philippine Competition Commission last week.

URC will acquire all buildings, improvements, machineries and equipment, laboratory equipment, and other related assets for operating the refinery and milling plant of La Carlota and the bioethanol plant of Roxol, as well as approximately 1.07 million square meters and 391,826 square meters of land where the assets are located in La Carlota.

URC is also set to acquire 520,115 Najalan Agri Ventures common shares being held by RHI and its nominee shareholders.

No acquisition price was disclosed.  “The acquisition by URC of the sugar milling and bioethanol distillery assets will create synergies in the sugar industry in Negros Occidental. This transaction is expected to enhance capability of URC to provide good milling services to the sugarcane planters,” the company said.

URC said it will continue to use the assets for sugar milling operations and bioethanol production operations.

“Aside from the operational synergies that will be achieved between La Carlota and existing URC operations in sugar, the acquisition is also intended to help sugarcane planters increase their productivity, as well as help local communities in Negros Occidental by providing more opportunities. In addition, the acquisition will allow URC to continue in its efforts to support the development of the sugar industry in the Philippines,” it said.

The PCC approval was needed to consummate the deal, while Roxas Holdings needs to pay the existing debt of the sugar miller and bioethanol producer.

Roxas Holdings, meanwhile, said it will use the proceeds of the transaction to prepay all long-term debt and reduce short-term debt to levels sufficient for its working capital needs.

“The sale of the La Carlota assets will allow RHI to refocus its resources on rebuilding its Nasugbu sugar milling and refining facilities, among others. The paring down of existing debts is expected to result in a stronger balance sheet for the RHI Group, and in capacity to rebuild its operations in Nasugbu, Batangas,” it said.


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