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Progressive applies to acquire Woolworths

Media Release

Issued 25 May 2001/60

Progressive applies for clearance to acquire Woolworths

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Progressive Enterprises Limited to acquire all the shares in Woolworths (New Zealand) Limited.

Progressive operates the Foodtown, Countdown and 3 Guys supermarket chains. It also supplies the independent SuperValue and Fresh Choice banner groups and conducts wholesaling through The Supply Chain and Red Arrow tobacco distributors. It is owned by Foodland Associates Limited, which is listed on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges.

Woolworths operates under the Woolworths, Big Fresh and Price Chopper brands. It is owned by Dairy Farm International Holdings Limited, a public company listed on the Hong Kong and London stock exchanges.

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

The Commerce Act prohibits business acquisitions that result in dominance being acquired or strengthened in any market. The Commission will give a clearance if it is satisfied that dominance is not acquired or strengthened.

The Act gives the Commission 10 working days in which to make its decision, but allows for extensions of time if necessary. Working day 10 will be June 11.

Public copies of Progressive's application will be available from the Commission next week.


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