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Red Bus applies for clearance to acquire Leopard

Media Release

Issued 18 April 2004-05 / 118

Red Bus applies for clearance to acquire Leopard

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Red Bus Limited to acquire part of the business of Leopard Coachlines Limited, being the business of operating scheduled urban bus routes under contract to the Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury).

Red Bus is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Christchurch City Holdings Limited, which is a Council controlled Trading Organisation owned by the Christchurch City Council. Red Bus is Christchurch’s largest urban bus operator. It operates various bus routes in Christchurch and surrounding areas under contracts granted by Environment Canterbury, together with some commercial bus routes.

Leopard is a privately-owned company which operates various bus routes in the Christchurch area under contracts granted by Environment Canterbury, as well as other bus operations such as school bus contracts, bus charters, ski field buses and inbound tourism coach operations.

The acquisition would result in aggregation in the provision of urban bus services in the Christchurch region. The main assets of the business proposed to be acquired by Red Bus are the buses currently owned by Leopard, as well as the contracts Leopard has with Environment Canterbury.

In considering this application, the Commission’s role is to determine whether the proposed acquisition has the effect of substantially lessening competition in a New Zealand market.

A public version of the application is available on www.comcom.govt.nz, under Public Registers.

Background
This is the second clearance application by Red Bus. In 2002, Red Bus applied for clearance to acquire up to 100% of the shares or assets of Leopard Coachlines. The Commission declined to grant a clearance as it could not be satisfied that the acquisition would not lead to a substantial lessening of competition within the market for the rights to operate scheduled, subsidised bus passenger services in Christchurch and Timaru. A copy of this decision is available on the Commission’s website, www.comcom.govt.nz select Public Registers.

ENDS

Commission media releases can be viewed on its web site www.comcom.govt.nz

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