Mobil Oil New Zealand Ltd., New Zealand’s oldest oil company and a wholly owned subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corp., says that Z Energy Ltd.’s acquisition of the Caltex and Challenge service station chains could potentially undermine competition.
In a comment filed with New Zealand’s Commerce Commission, Mobil Oil New Zealand said that the deal would concentrate fuel discount arrangements with a single market player.
On Aug. 6, the Commerce Commission published a statement of preliminary issues relating to Z Energy Ltd.’s application to acquire 100% of the shares in Chevron New Zealand, the owner of the Caltex brand in New Zealand. The Commerce Commission invited interested parties to provide comments on the likely competitive effects of Z’s proposed acquisition. The comment period closed on Aug. 21. The Commission said it would issue a decision by Dec. 18.
If the merger is approved, Z Energy would have deals with three of the four loyalty programmes — Countdown, Flybuys and AA Smartfuel. This would give Z Energy an unfair advantage over its rivals, Mobil Oil New Zealand said. Mobil Oil has a loyalty scheme with Foodstuffs’ New World and Pak ’n Save supermarkets.
Z Energy’s “involvement with multiple independent programmes gives them an undue competitive advantage over others in the industry, which may deliver such an advantage that they could influence the market,” comments Andrew McNaught, lead country manager for Mobil Oil New Zealand.