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Air Liquide cleared to acquire ASCOGAS

Media Release Issued 13 February 2008/ No 105

Air Liquide cleared to acquire ASCOGAS

The Commerce Commission has cleared Air Liquide to acquire all the shares of ASCOGAS. Commission Chair Paula Rebstock said that the Commission was satisfied that the proposed acquisition would not have the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in any of the relevant markets.

Air Liquide is the New Zealand subsidiary of the France-based Air Liquide Group of companies. It produces and supplies industrial gases including oxygen, nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide.

ASCOGAS is a privately-owned company distributing similar industrial gases. Both companies supply customers in each island but Air Liquide’s main markets are in the North Island and ASCOGAS’s in the South Island.

Ms Rebstock said that in making its decision the Commission noted the presence of BOC as a very strong national competitor which, together with two smaller independent competitors, was likely to constrain the pricing behaviour of the merged entity. Indeed, the Commission considered that the acquisition could be pro-competitive as it would allow Air Liquide an expanded national presence that would make it a more effective competitor to BOC.


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