The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has delayed its decision regarding BP’s proposed Woolworths petrol station acquisition.
A draft decision was issued by the ACCC in August ’17, proposing to grant a conditional authorisation to the alliance between BP Australia Pty Ltd, BP Resellers, and Woolworths Limited.
However, it has come to light that the former proposed decision date in October has been pushed back to November 30, allowing more time for the appropriate data analysis and information to be considered.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “The transaction would reduce the number of major rivals in fuel retailing. The transaction could see retailers face less competitive pressure to keep their prices low and as a result, motorists may end up paying more at the pump.”
“Woolworths appears to influence retail market fuel prices by either leading price reductions, or quickly following other retailers that reduce prices, especially in the downwards phase of metropolitan price cycles,” he said.
“The proposed acquisition removes Woolworths’ influence on metropolitan markets and we are concerned that BP would not follow Woolworths’ pricing strategy. Competition may become softer, costing consumers.”
A spokesperson for BP said: “We are currently in detailed discussions with the ACCC and we will continue to work with them as they undertake further analysis. We are confident we can address any issues they may raise and look forward to receiving clearance at the end of this process.”