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Commission Starts Court Action Against BAT

4 May 2001

Commission Starts Court Action Against British American Tobacco Over Merger

The Commerce Commission has commenced court action against British American Tobacco Holdings (NZ) Limited (BAT) alleging that the acquisition by BAT of HD & WO Wills (New Zealand) Limited (Wills NZ) in 1999 contravened section 47 of the Commerce Act.

Section 47 prohibits a person from acquiring the assets or shares of a business if the acquisition would lead to a person acquiring or strengthening dominance in a market.

The Commission's action has been filed in the Wellington High Court and documents have now been served on BAT. If the Court finds that BAT breached the Act, then it could order BAT to divest itself of Wills NZ, and could also impose a wide range of orders and injunction.

Statement of Claim

The Statement of Claim filed by the Commission is a court document. Before a judicial conference is held, the Commission cannot release a copy of the Statement of Claim.

Ends


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