Mergers

Qantas stake in Alliance Airlines raises concerns

The ACCC has expressed preliminary competition concerns about Qantas’ (ASX: QAN) acquisition of a 19.9% interest in Alliance Airlines (ASX: AQZ), which took place on 1 February 2019.

Brisbane-based Alliance supplies charter air services to corporate customers in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia; mainly mining and resources companies requiring services for their fly-in-fly-out workforces. Alliance competes strongly with Qantas for this business, either in its own right or in cooperation with Virgin under the Charter Alliance Agreement.

Consultation on Landmark’s proposed rural store divestments

The ACCC is seeking views on a proposed undertaking offered by Nutrien in relation to its proposed acquisition of Ruralco (ASX: RHL).

Nutrien operates rural merchandise stores and other rural services in Australia under the Landmark brand.

Nutrien’s proposed undertaking seeks to address some of the preliminary competition concerns identified by the ACCC in its statement of issues released on 13 June 2019.

Concerns about ANZ Terminals, GrainCorp deal

The ACCC has released a statement of issues raising preliminary concerns about ANZ Terminals’ proposed acquisition of GrainCorp Liquid Terminals Australia Pty Ltd (ASX:GNC).

ANZ Terminals and GrainCorp both provide port-side bulk liquid storage services in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, where they compete to store liquids including edible oils, tallow, non-flammable industrial chemicals and base oils for customers.

Car deal conditionally authorised with Newcastle and Hunter Valley divestitures

The ACCC has conditionally authorised AP Eagers’ (ASX: APE) proposed acquisition of Automotive Holdings Group (AHG) (ASX: AHG), following an undertaking from AP Eagers to sell its existing new car dealerships in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region to a third party. 

The merger did not raise concerns nationally, or in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, where the overlap between the operations of AP Eagers and AHG is limited and there is sufficient competition from other dealerships and suppliers.

ACCC appeal in PN Aurizon case

The ACCC has lodged an appeal against the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss the ACCC’s proceedings in relation to Pacific National’s acquisition of Aurizon’s (ASX: AZJ) Acacia Ridge Terminal.

In July 2018, the ACCC brought proceedings alleging that Pacific National’s acquisition of the Acacia Ridge Terminal in Brisbane would substantially lessen competition by raising the barriers to entry for potential new rail operators.

Concerns about AP Eagers' proposed acquisition of AHG

The ACCC has preliminary concerns about AP Eagers’ (ASX: APE) proposed acquisition of the shares in Automotive Holdings Group (AHG) (ASX: AHG) that it does not already own, and its impact on competition in new car retailing in the Newcastle/Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.

The ACCC is currently assessing an application for merger authorisation from automotive retailer AP Eagers.

Liberty’s acquisition of Steelforce not opposed

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Steelforce Holdings Pty Ltd (Steelforce) by GFG Alliance Australia (Liberty).

Liberty and Steelforce both manufacture and distribute long steel products, which are used for construction and industrial purposes.

The ACCC’s review focused on the wholesale supply and distribution of three types of long steel products: hollows, structurals and merchant bars.

Concerns about Landmark’s proposed acquisition of Ruralco

The ACCC has released a statement of issues raising preliminary competition concerns about Nutrien’s proposed acquisition of Ruralco (ASX: RHL).

Nutrien operates in Australia through its wholly owned subsidiary, Landmark. Landmark and Ruralco supply rural merchandise such as fertiliser, fencing and animal health products and other services through their branded retail store networks.

Both companies also have wholesale businesses supplying rural merchandise to independent stores.

APLNG’s acquisition of Origin’s Ironbark project not opposed

The ACCC will not oppose Australia Pacific LNG’s (APLNG) proposed acquisition of the Ironbark coal seam gas project from Origin Energy (Origin).

APLNG is a large gas producer with significant gas tenements in eastern Australia. It supplies almost 30 per cent of the gas going into the east coast market, and processes the balance of its gas for export at its LNG facility near Gladstone, Queensland.