ACCC has delayed its consideration of BP’s proposed acquisition of the Woolworths’ fuel retail network so that the ACCC can consider further information from the parties.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said this is a significant decision for the fuel retail network in Australia. The expected new decision date is December 14, 2017. “This potential transaction involves complex, extensive data analysis of fuel prices across all fuel service stations in Australia over a number of years, and it’s vital we take the time to thoroughly assess its likely impact,” he said.
BP supplies fuel to about 1,400 BP-branded fuel service stations throughout Australia. Of these fuel service stations, BP controls 347. This includes 316 of BP’s own stations referred to by BP as “company-owned-and-company-operated” and 31 “commission agency” stations. Additionally, BP sets the price of diesel only at a further 34 “diesel commission agency” stations. At the remaining BP-branded fuel service stations, prices are set independently by third-party site operators.
Woolworths Limited currently operates 531 fuel service stations and has 12 stations in development. Woolworths entered fuel retailing in the late 1990s, establishing fuel service stations that offer fuel discounts to those buying groceries at its stores. In August 2003, Woolworths entered into an alliance with Caltex to operate dual-branded service stations, which are operated by Woolworths and obtain all fuels from Caltex.
The ACCC began a public review of the proposed acquisition in March 2017 and a statement of issues outlining preliminary competition concerns in August. The ACCC will release its final determination on the applications for authorization by December 15, 2017. PWKD01122017