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ACCC will not oppose Toxfree acquisition

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Tox Free Solutions (Toxfree) by waste management company, Cleanaway, following news of the $671 million arrangement last year.

“This was a complex matter for the ACCC,” according to ACCC Commissioner, Roger Featherston. “We consulted extensively with over 70 interested parties including customers, competitors, regulators and industry bodies. There was a mix of views on the competitive impacts, with some expecting little change, and others highlighting concerns.”

The ACCC’s investigation focused on waste streams and regions where the parties’ operations overlap, and the competitive implications of Cleanaway’s overall growth and increased vertical integration. Some of the key areas of focus were: hazardous waste processing, particularly in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, and hazardous waste collection (including household hazardous waste collection); non-hazardous liquid waste processing, particularly in NSW/Australian Capital Territory and QLD; medical waste collection, particularly in Victoria, and medical waste processing, particularly in NSW, and used lubricating oil collection, particularly in WA.

“Although there may be a lessening of competition in some waste streams, such as hazardous waste collection and processing, and used lubricating oil collection, we considered that, in this case, the proposed acquisition is unlikely to meet the threshold of a substantial lessening of competition,” said Featherston.

“We concluded that the threat of customers switching to competitors would constrain Cleanaway from increasing prices or decreasing service levels to a significant extent in any waste stream or geographic area.

“Competitors include major global waste companies such as Veolia, Suez and Remondis, as well as smaller local and regional operators,” he said.

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