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Statement Of Preliminary Issues Released For Ampol / Z Clearance Application

The Commerce Commission has published a statement of preliminary issues relating to an application from Ampol Limited (Ampol) seeking clearance to acquire 100% of the shares in Z Energy Limited (Z), subject to an undertaking from Ampol to sell its Gull business either by a trade sale or an IPO.

This statement outlines the key competition issues that the Commission considers important in deciding whether or not to grant clearance to the proposed acquisition, including its evaluation of the proposed divestment undertaking.

The Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on the likely competitive effects of the acquisition of Z, and the effectiveness of the proposed divestment undertaking in addressing those effects. Submissions can be sent by email to registrar@comcom.govt.nz with the reference “Ampol Limited / Z Energy Limited” in the subject line. Parties should provide a public version of their submission at the same time for publication on the Commission’s case register. Any submissions should be received by close of business on 2 December 2021.

The Commission is currently scheduled to make a decision on the application by 18 January 2022. However, this date may be extended as the investigation progresses.

The Statement of Preliminary Issues and a public version of the application can be found on the Commission’s case register.

Background

Z is a New Zealand-based fuel company. It has operations across the fuel supply chain in New Zealand, including refining, importing, storage, distribution, wholesale supply and retail supply to commercial and retail customers. At the retail level, Z supplies fuel through a network of Z and Caltex-branded service stations.

Ampol is an Australian-based fuel company. In New Zealand, Ampol operates through its subsidiaries Gull New Zealand Limited, Terminals New Zealand Limited and ALD Group Holdings NZ Limited (together, Gull). Gull sources most of its refined fuel requirements from Ampol in Australia and imports it into New Zealand via its storage facility at Mount Maunganui. It supplies commercial and retail customers in New Zealand, primarily through its network of Gull-branded service stations.

The Commission will give clearance to a proposed merger if we are satisfied that the merger is unlikely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market. In giving clearance, the Commission may accept a written undertaking from the Applicant to dispose of assets or shares.

Further information explaining how the Commission assesses a merger application is available on our website.

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