The ACCC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Informed Sources (Australia) Pty Ltd (Informed Sources) and a number of petrol retailers, alleging that their information sharing arrangements, allows those petrol retailers to communicate with each other about their prices, and that this had the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in markets for the sale of petrol in Melbourne. The exchange of this information allows retailers to respond to each other’s prices and analyse the pricing behaviours and strategies of their competitors. According to the ACCC, price coordination and cooperation is increased and competitive rivalry is decreased.
The matter is listed for a directions hearing in Melbourne on 26 September 2014.
Further, the ACCC has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Mobil Oil Australia Pty Ltd (Mobil), that it will not subscribe to Informed Sources information exchange service. Mobil was a subscriber until October 2010 when it sold its interest in fuel retailing assets in Australia. The ACCC has accepted the undertaking and has not joined Mobil to the proceedings after taking into account that Mobil ceased subscribing some time ago and has undertaken not to subscribe to similar services for five years.