Viva Energy has offered the ACCC a court-enforceable divesture proposal of 24 Coles Express sites in Adelaide to assist in its acquisition of the OTR Group.
Viva Energy initially proposed to divest 23 of its 32 retail sites in Adelaide. However, the number of sites to be divested increased to 24 in Adelaide and one site on the Eyre Peninsula in response to concerns raised by the ACCC.
Viva Energy has proposed Chevron as the purchaser of the divestiture sites, which currently has one retail site in South Australia, in Port Augusta.
Stephen Ridgeway, ACCC Commissioner, said the ACCC is seeking feedback from market participants on whether Viva’s divestiture to Chevron will result in the creation of an effective, independent, and long-term competitor to a combined Viva and OTR.
“While the ACCC has decided to publicly consult on the divestiture proposal, this should not be interpreted to mean that this or any other form of remedy will ultimately be accepted.
“It is also not an indication that Chevron is considered by the ACCC as an appropriate buyer of the divestiture assets at this stage.”
Viva Energy acquired Coles Express in a $300 million deal last year, which saw it take control of more than 700 Coles Express sites nationally. The business announced plans to transition these sites over to OTR branding.
“We are assessing whether the divestiture proposal will effectively address our competition concerns regarding the supply of retail fuel in South Australia and replace the competition that would be lost with the proposed acquisition,” said Ridgeway.
The ACCC invites submissions on the divestiture proposal by 27 November 2023.