Commission obtains divestitures from Topaz Investments Limited to secure approval for proposed acquisition of Esso Ireland

October 15, 2015

 

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“the Commission”) has today cleared the proposed acquisition by Topaz Investments Limited (“Topaz”) of sole control of Esso Ireland Limited (“Esso Ireland”) subject to binding divestment commitments. The commitments, which the Commission has taken into account as part of its determination, require Topaz to divest Esso’s Ireland’s 50% interest in a sea-fed fuel terminal located at Dublin Port and also to divest three retail fuel service stations owned and operated by Esso Ireland in the Dublin area.

The determination follows an extensive two phase investigation in the period since 14 April 2015, when the proposed transaction was notified to the Commission. The Commission’s investigation involved in-depth economic and econometric analyses of the affected market segments, consideration of detailed submissions from the parties involved, as well as consultations with suppliers, customers and competitors of the merging parties. Given the importance of competing fuel suppliers in local areas, the Commission carried out an in-house geo-mapping study involving retail sites, associated fuel volumes and road infrastructure.

During its investigation the Commission identified competition concerns arising from the proposed transaction.  The Commission was concerned that the merger would result in an unacceptable increase in concentration in the Dublin fuel terminal market and in certain retail fuel service station areas.  In response, Topaz submitted proposed commitments to sell the assets mentioned above (i.e. Esso’s Ireland’s 50% interest in its Dublin fuel terminal and the three service stations in the Dublin area). Following detailed consideration, the Commission decided that these commitments were sufficient to address its competition concerns.

Isolde Goggin Commission Chair commented, “Our role in reviewing mergers and acquisitions is to ensure that they do not substantially lessen competition in any market for goods or services in the State. We are satisfied following our extensive investigation, and in light of the binding commitments which we have secured, that we have safeguarded competition, both for consumers and for other businesses in this important sector. ”

The Commission will publish detailed reasons for its determination in due course after allowing the parties the opportunity to request the removal of confidential information from the published version. The details on the parties involved, the assets involved and the Commission’s investigation which can be disclosed at this stage are set out below.

 

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