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Progressive welcomes Parliament’s support


20 September 2001

Progressive welcomes Parliament’s support

Progressive Enterprises Managing Director Ted van Arkel has thanked the Government and Opposition parties for providing certainty to businesses affected by a Court of Appeal decision on changed company mergers legislation.

This afternoon they supported the introduction of the Commerce Clearance Validation Bill, which will make it clear that applications made by May 26 have been treated correctly by the Commerce Commission.

“Progressive’s proposed acquisition of Woolworths has been dogged by legal challenges even though we gained Commerce Commission approval,” Mr van Arkel said.

“We knew the Government intended that clearance applications which were lodged before the law change, like that from Progressive, should be considered under the old test. Now that will be made perfectly clear.

“That’s good news for shoppers. It is the consumer who will benefit from far more competition in food retailing if our proposal goes ahead.”

The proposed acquisition would mean a combined market share of 40 percent for Progressive/Woolworths against Foodstuffs’ 55 percent. Progressive has 21 percent of supermarket sales and Woolworths 19 percent.

“If we succeed with the acquisition we will be able to increase our buying power and operating efficiencies and thereby lower prices to supermarket shoppers,” he said.

“Foodstuffs, predictably, have wanted to maintain their dominance in food retailing, which is why they have pursued legal challenges to our clearance both in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

“All we ask is that the parties and the select committee considering the Bill continue to treat this matter urgently to meet the October 8 report back date. There are still significant commercial transactions to be concluded.”

Mr van Arkel said Foodland Associated Limited (FAL), the holding company of Progressive Enterprises, would continue discussions with JP Morgan, the advisors to Dairy Farm International Holdings Limited, the owners of Woolworths New Zealand.

ENDS

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