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Howard Smith applies to acquire OPSM Supply Group

Media Release

Issued 21 May 2001/55

Howard Smith applies for clearance to acquire business group from OPSM Protector

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Howard Smith Limited to acquire OPSM Protector Limited's Protector Supply Group.

The application relates to OPSM's distribution business only, and not its manufacturing business.

Both companies are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and are involved in the supply of personal and industrial safety equipment and clothing.

Howard Smith's New Zealand subsidiaries include NZ Safety Limited, Benchmark Building Supplies Limited and J Blackwood & Son (New Zealand) Limited.

OPSM Protector operates in New Zealand through a number of subsidiaries, which it owns through Protector Safety Industries Pty Limited.

The Director of the Commission's Business Competition Branch, Geoff Thorn, said that the Commission must determine what are the relevant markets for the proposal, and then assess what impact the proposal would have on competition in those markets.

The Commerce Act prohibits business acquisitions that would result, or would be likely to result, in any person acquiring or strengthening a dominant position in a market. Parties can apply for a clearance, which the Commission will give if it is satisfied that dominance would not be acquired or strengthened.

The Commission is due to make its decision on June 8.

Public copies of Howard Smith's application will be available from the Commission soon.

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