Massy pushes back
Conglomerate dismisses concerns about takeover of IGL; commits to 'fair and open' competition

TRINIDAD-BASED conglomerate Massition of IGL Limited will put it in a position to abuse the market for liquified petroleum gas (LPG), saying it "is fully committed to fair and open competition".

"We have assured our customers and by extension, we can assure the nation, that we will continue to operate with the highest standards and provide competitive prices and excellent service to the Jamaican market," Massy Gas Products told the Jamaica Observer in response to an article published last Wednesday in which the concern was raised that with it set to take full control of IGL, the virtual monopoly that will result could cause it to abuse smaller players and consumers.

"The LPG industry in Jamaica is one of the industries which has seen an increase in competition in the last three years, with over 10 new companies entering the space," Rohan Ambersley, chief executive officer of Massy Gas Products, told the Business Observer in response to the article. At least one new player, Fesco, is seeking to enter the market as early as April.

Ambersley pointed out that with the takeover of IGL, the combined business will account for just over 70 per cent of the total market for cooking gas in Jamaica. Massy currently distributes the Gas Pro line of LPG cooking gas. It entered the LPG market in Jamaica through the acquisition of Shell's LPG business in 2006. Its acknowledgement that it will have just over 70 per cent of the LPG market is a lower figure than the approximately 90 per cent that the Business Observer estimated.

AMBERSLEY...the LPG industry in Jamaica is one of the industries which has seen an increase in competition in the last three years, with over 10 new companies entering the space.

"The market is characterised by robust and increasingly strong competition and will continue to be characterised by vigorous commercial rivalry. Massy Gas Products (Jamaica) Limited, who is fully committed to fair and open competition, will continue to serve its customers and the Jamaican market with great products, exceptional service, and an enduring commitment to safety and reliable supply," Massy outlined that it has worked with integrity and fairness with numerous suppliers, dealers and key stakeholders in the market.

Ambersley said Massy has been and continues to invest significantly in Jamaica, dismissing fears that its dominant position will see it becoming complacent.

"We have, in the last three years alone, spent approximately US$10 million, to expand our LPG storage, build new facilities, upgrade our fleet, and optimize our safety systems. This we undertook because of our commitment to better serving our customers and to meet the growing demand for the product in key sectors."

He said the business community will benefit from the economies of scale and the associated efficiencies that Massy would bring and that the efficiencies will "bring greater value to all our customers including commercial customers. We would also seek to increase communication with the business community around our ongoing value creation thrust."

Massy Holdings is set to acquire IGL in a deal that is worth US$140 million but which is causing jitters with regards to its likely impact on consumers and competitors.

He added that Massy will continue to invest in new technologies, infrastructure, and safety and that the financial services industry will benefit from the opportunities to support Massy in its ongoing investments in Jamaica.

"Massy Gas Products has a strong industrial gas export business to over 25 countries in the region. Industrial gas production in Jamaica would be used to support exports and earn foreign exchange for the country," he continued.

Massy Gas Products Holdings Ltd. announced in December 2022 that it has signed an agreement with Caribbean Petroleum Marketing Limited to purchase IGL (St Lucia) IBC Limited, the parent company of IGL Limited, which operates in Jamaica for US$140 million.

The purchase of IGL (St Lucia) IBC Limited is subject to regulatory review.

Massy's bid to acquire IGL is subject to regulatory approval. The Fair Trading Commission is now reviewing the proposed deal.

Massy said it continues to work with institutions like the Fair Trading Commission to ensure compliance with the Fair Competition Act and principles of fair trade.

"Since our commencement of this business, we have consistently and constantly effected improvements to our business including our assets, equipment, and approach in light of the importance of LPG to our local market. Massy Gas Products Ltd understands and has gained experience in the Jamaican market and we remain committed to bringing all our knowledge, expertise and know-how from operating not only in the Jamaican market but also in other markets in the Caribbean. We will continue to invest in innovation, development and creativity and create efficiencies which redound to the benefit of our consumers and the Jamaican economy. We have demonstrated this being the first to bring composite cylinders and other innovations to the market and will only expand on this in the future," Massy said.

"As one of the leading suppliers of industrial and medical gases, we would also bring the full capabilities of our group and expand service to ensure adequate delivery considering Jamaica's growing economy and through exporting from Jamaica, create greater employment opportunities. All Jamaicans would recall the crisis created during one of the peak period for COVID cases in Jamaica when the country ran short of medical oxygen. IGL's medical gas business would become vertically integrated into the most comprehensive medical gas supply chain in the region, eliminating that risk to the country."

Ambersley added: "We are certain that the acquisition of IGL by Massy Gas Products will bring huge benefits to LPG consumers and customers in Jamaica from the combination of efficiencies and best practices from both organisations."

A worker at the Gas Pro filling plant fills cylinders with LPG. Massy is seeking to acquire IGL which will give it over 70 per cent of the LPG market in Jamaica.
BY DASHAN HENDRICKS Business content manager

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