CCPC requires binding commitments from BWG to acquire McCarrick’s

November 8, 2022

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared, subject to a number of legally binding commitments, the proposed acquisition by BWG Foods Unlimited Company (BWG) of McCarrick Brothers Wholesale Longford Limited.

BWG is involved in the wholesale distribution of food and grocery goods to its affiliated stores and to stores operated by independent retailers. McCarrick Brothers Wholesale Longford Limited is a newly incorporated company which owns the business and certain assets of McCarrick Brothers (Longford) Limited (McCarrick’s). McCarrick’s, a member of the Stonehouse Marketing Limited (Stonehouse) and Gala Retail Services Limited (GRSL) buying groups, is active in the wholesale grocery sector.

The CCPC’s determination follows a preliminary investigation to establish whether the proposed transaction would result in a substantial lessening of competition for goods or services in the State.

During the investigation, the CCPC identified potential concerns about competition should the proposed acquisition take place. These potential concerns related to the possibility that the proposed transaction could provide BWG, by virtue of BWG’s ownership of McCarrick Brothers Wholesale Longford Limited and (by extension) the business of McCarrick’s, with access to competitively sensitive information relating to GRSL or Stonehouse.

To address these potential concerns, BWG proposed to make a number of binding commitments to the CCPC which are intended to prevent BWG from acquiring McCarrick’s shareholdings in Stonehouse and GRSL and to prevent the exchange of competitively sensitive information between BWG, Stonehouse and/or GRSL, which would constitute a breach of section 4(1) of the Competition Act 2002.

Having taken into account the above commitments given by BWG, the CCPC has determined that the proposed acquisition will not substantially lessen competition and, therefore, the proposed acquisition can be put into effect. The commitments form part of the basis of the CCPC’s determination to clear the proposed transaction, and so are legally binding on BWG.

The CCPC will publish the full determination on its website no later than 60 working days after the date of the determination and after allowing the parties the opportunity to request that confidential information be removed from the published version.

Further details of the CCPC’s announcement can be found at M/22/047 – BWG / McCarrick Brothers Wholesale.

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