ACCC ruling over P&N acquisition puts competition first

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th August 2011

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of P&N Beverages Australia by Japanese brewery group Asahi after competition concerns were resolved by Asahi.

On 9 March 2011, the ACCC opposed an earlier acquisition proposal, saying it would ‘remove P&N as a vigorous and effective competitor in the markets for the supply of carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) and cordial’.

Asahi then revised its proposal to acquire P&N and simultaneously divest P&N’s CSD, cordial and energy drink business to Tru Blu Beverages – a newly created company run by P&N’s current Managing Director, Peter Brooks – while retaining P&N’s bottled water and fruit juice business.

“Taking into account the divestiture and that it will occur simultaneously with the acquisition of P&N, the ACCC is satisfied that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The undertaking obligates Asahi to divest the manufacturing facilities, production equipment, brands, personnel, intellectual property rights and other assets necessary to operate the business the CSD, cordial and energy drink branch of the business.

Chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims said, “This is an excellent outcome for competition in the beverage industry and highlights how businesses can use the ACCC’s processes to address competition concerns and reach a mutually acceptable outcome.

“The CSD and cordial products that are produced by P&N play an important role in providing Australians with a competitive alternative to the relevant products produced by Schweppes and Coca-Cola Amatil.”