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Regulator delays Amcor merger decision

By: Kate Tilley

January 23, 2014

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has delayed a decision on whether it will approve Amcor Ltd.’s proposed takeover of Detmold Flexibles.

ACCC had originally set Jan 30 as the date on which it would issue a final decision or a statement of issues. But on Jan. 21 the Canberra-based regulator decided to seek additional information from the merger parties. A new date has not been set.

Amcor, the Australian-based multinational packaging company, proposed a A$50 million acquisition of Detmold Flexibles, a unit of Adelaide-based Detmold Group, on Nov. 18. Amcor aims to merge the Melbourne-based business with its Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific division.

Detmold Flexibles operates two flexible packaging plants in the state of Victoria at Dandenong and Port Melbourne and specializes in providing flexible packaging for fast moving consumer goods and industrial, medical, hygiene and household products.

ACCC is considering the proposed acquisition under s50 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, which prohibits mergers and acquisitions likely to substantially lessen competition in a market.

An ACCC spokesman told Plastics News he is unsure whether ACCC has requested more information or one of the parties has indicated it has extra information. “A delay like this is not unusual; it happens in between a third and half of these matters,” he said.

ACCC had initially requested specific details about the businesses’ sourcing of flexible packaging; their products and the nature and extent of current competition to supply them in Australia; tender processes; the extent to which both companies compete to supply products; whether Detmold has lower prices or better services than its competitors; any new expansion of supply; and current imports.

Meanwhile, Amcor has successfully split into two separate companies. Its demerger company, Orora Ltd., was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange on Dec. 18 and shares started trading on Jan. 3.

The US$2 billion demerger sees Orora focus on the Australian and New Zealand fiber, glass and beverage can packaging markets, plus packaging distribution in Australia and North America. Its products and services include corrugated boxes, folding cartons, recycled paper linerboard, glass bottles and jars, multiwall paper sacks, closures, aluminum beverage cans, bulk bags, packaging design and testing services, and recycling services.

Amcor now specializes in flexible and rigid plastic packaging and tobacco packaging for overseas markets.