The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has determined that undertakings entered into by Manildra in 2002 to divest two starch manufacturing plants have been satisfied, ACCC chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.
'The Henderson manufacturing plant has been divested but the Moorooka plant has not been divested despite extensions to the sale processes under the undertaking. Those sale processes have been exhausted without any offers being received for the Moorooka plant.
'Accordingly, the ACCC considers that Manildra has satisfied its divestiture obligations under the undertaking'.
In February 2002 the ACCC accepted s. 87B undertakings from Manildra under which Manildra would divest starch manufacturing operations located at Henderson, Western Australia and Moorooka, Queensland. These divestitures were intended to address the ACCC's concerns in 2002 regarding the possible effect on competition for the supply of starch and starch sugars arising from Manildra's acquisition of the Weston Bioproducts business from George Weston Foods.
'The undertaking provided for two separate processes to achieve a divestiture of the Henderson and Moorooka assets. These were an initial sale period controlled by Manildra and, in the absence of a sale under this process, a second process administered by an independent person', Mr Samuel said.
'The Henderson manufacturing plant has been divested to Nagata Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of a Japanese company, Nagata Sangyo Co. Ltd. This plant benefits from close proximity to sources of high quality wheat and customers which should help ensure healthy competition. No offers were received for the Moorooka assets and, accordingly, they have not been divested under the undertaking. Possible bidders for these assets, such as another local or overseas producer or a major local user of starches, have not emerged despite two lengthy sale processes. Manildra's other obligations under its undertaking will continue, specifically, to have an auditor provide regular, confidential reports to the ACCC on industry developments'.
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