The ACCC has announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of P&N Beverages Australia Pty Ltd by Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd after the Commission's concerns were resolved by Asahi providing a court enforceable undertaking.
On 9 March 2011, the ACCC announced that it opposed the proposed acquisition of P&N by Asahi after it found that the acquisition would remove P&N as a vigorous and effective competitor in the markets for the supply of carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) and cordial.
To address these competition concerns, Asahi made a revised proposal to acquire P&N and simultaneously divest P&N's CSD, cordial and energy drink business to Tru Blu Beverages Pty Ltd (TBB) – a newly created company run by P&N's current Managing Director, Mr Brooks – while retaining P&N's bottled water and fruit juice business.
The undertaking obliges Asahi to divest the manufacturing facilities, production equipment, brands, personnel, intellectual property rights and other assets necessary to operate TBB's CSD, cordial and energy drink business. Asahi is also required to transfer certain production lines from Schweppes to TBB and provide interim contract packing services to TBB.
The ACCC was satisfied that the undertaking would address its competition concerns and ensure that TBB is in a position to be an ongoing viable and effective independent competitor in the CSD and cordial markets.
A Public Competition Assessment has been issued on the basis that:
- the original proposal was opposed by the ACCC and the revised proposal was not opposed subject to a court enforceable undertaking, and
- the proposals are also considered to raise issues of interest to the public.