ACCC raises concerns on Landmark's Ruralco acquisition

ACCC raises concerns on Landmark's Ruralco acquisition
ACCC raises concerns on Landmark's Ruralco acquisition

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has raised concerns about Landmark’s proposed acquisition of Ruralco.

It is asking for stakeholder comment on the competition impact a merged national agency business might have on the agriculture sector.

ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said: “A merged Landmark-Ruralco would be by far the largest retail and wholesale supplier of rural merchandise in Australia, with Elders the only other large national chain.

“The combined entity would supply around 650 rural merchandise stores (including both corporate and member stores), which is approximately 45% of all rural merchandise stores nationally.”  

The ACCC has identified a number of local areas, including Broome (WA), Alice Springs (NT), Cooma (NSW) and Hughenden (Qld), where Landmark’s rural merchandise stores compete with Ruralco stores and there would be few remaining competitors.

"We're considering whether the proposed acquisition would reduce competition at the wholesale level, or whether the remaining wholesalers or buying groups (AIRR, NRI and AgLink) will provide sufficient competition," Keogh said.

"As well as examining whether a merged Landmark-Ruralco would be more likely to discriminate against retailers which are wholesale customers that compete with its retail stores."

The ACCC’s review has also considered overlaps between Landmark and Ruralco in the supply of wool broking, livestock agency and live export, insurance broking, financial services and real estate agency services.

Its preliminary view is that the proposed deal is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in these areas.

Submissions from interested parties on the statement of issues should be provided by 27 June 2019.

The ACCC’s final decision is scheduled for 15 August 2019.

The statement of issues is available at Landmark - proposed acquisition of Ruralco.

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Landmark Ruralco

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