Meridien Pty Ltd - acquisition of Abel Point Marina

Acquirer(s)

  • Meridien Pty Ltd

Target(s)

  • Abel Point Marina

Summary

Meridien Pty Ltd (Meridien) acquired Abel Point Marina at Airlie Beach in Queensland in December 2006. It is also currently constructing the Port of Airlie Marina, which is located near to Abel Point Marina. The ACCC's assessment considered whether, when the Port of Airlie Marina opens, there will be a substantial lessening of competition for commercial and recreational users (at that time, both marinas will be owned by Meridien, rather than separately owned).

Market definition

This proposed acquisition was assessed within the context of the market for the supply of marina berths suitable for recreational boat users (excluding vessels under 9 metres in length). The geographic dimension of the market includes Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour.

Commercial users were not included as part of the relevant market, based on information suggesting that there will be virtually no competitive overlap between Abel Point Marina and Port of Airlie Marina for these users, with the new Port of Airlie Marina focussing almost exclusively on recreational users. The ACCC formed the view that this would have likely been the case with or without the acquisition of Abel Point Marina.

Competition analysis

On 29 April 2008, the ACCC formed the view that the proposed acquisition was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the relevant market. Factors informing this conclusion included:

1. Meridien plans to sell berths at the new Port of Airlie Marina in conjunction with apartments. Berths are unlikely to be available to users who do not want to purchase an apartment in the marina complex. The ACCC formed the view that this would have likely been the case with or without the acquisition. In contrast, berths at Abel Point Marina are available for separate lease. As a result, the ACCC formed the view that it was unlikely that there would have been close competition between the marinas for the business of local recreational users at Abel Point Marina who are only interested in a marina berth, rather than a berth and apartment bundle.

2. Many of the recreational boat users who are interested in buying an apartment and marina berth bundle at the Port of Airlie Marina are likely to live outside the region. The range of substitutable bundles for these users is likely to be considerably broader than just the two marinas in the Airlie Beach region. As a result, they are likely to be more responsive to changes in price than local recreational users, for whom the convenience of a berth in Airlie Beach is important.

Timeline

DateEvent
20/12/2006Meridien Pty Ltd acquired Abel Point Marina.
13/04/2007ACCC commences review under the Merger Review Process Guidelines.
16/04/2007ACCC commences market inquiries.
24/04/2007Proposed date for announcement of ACCC's findings extended to 22 May.
30/04/2007Closing date for submissions relating to market inquiries.
22/05/2007Proposed date for announcement of ACCC's findings extended to 12 June.
07/06/2007Proposed date for announcement of ACCC's findings amended from 12 June to 4 July.
28/06/2007ACCC requested further information from Meridien. ACCC timeline and proposed date for announcement of ACCC's findings suspended.
19/11/2007ACCC received further information from Meridien. ACCC timeline recommenced.
29/04/2008ACCC announced it would not oppose the acquisition.