Viva Energy’s OTR deal cleared after promise to divest Coles Express stores

Viva Energy has agreed to divest 25 Coles Express locations in South Australia to gain a green light from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for its planned acquisition of OTR Group.

OTR Group is a fuel and convenience retailer operating predominantly in South Australia while Viva Energy operates a fuel supply chain with retail sites across the country, including Coles Express convenience stores.

Viva Energy announced in April it would acquire OTR Group for $1.15 billion from Peregrine Corporation. The deal encompasses OTR’s network of 184 retail fuel sites, including 153 sites in South Australia, 15 in Northern Territory, eight in Western Australia, 11 in Victoria and two in NSW.

Following the proposed acquisition, Viva Energy plans to expand the OTR brand to Coles Express sites in other states.

The ACCC was concerned the acquisition would “adversely affect competition and reduce choice for consumers” in Adelaide and Ceduna, said commissioner Stephen Ridgeway.

After the issue was raised, Viva Energy offered to divest its 24 retail sites in Adelaide and another one in Ceduna, and proposed Chevron as the upfront purchaser. 

In exchange, Viva Energy will receive 13 Chevron sites located in Queensland, NSW and WA. 

The ACCC accepted the undertaking following consultation, stating that the proposed acquisition would not result in a substantial lessening of competition.

“The ACCC considers that the undertaking given by Viva Energy will create a viable, effective, standalone, independent and long-term competitor,” Ridgeway concluded.

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