ACCC investigating Amcor takeover of Aperio

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating a proposed takeover of the Aperio Group by Amcor to determine if the purchase would damage competition on the flexible packaging sector.

Amcor Flexibles is an Australian-based multinational flexible packaging company, while Aperio is a privately-owned manufacturer of flexible products.

Amcor is already the largest supplier of flexible packaging in Australia, and has manufacturing plants in Moorabbin and Preston in Victoria, Acacia in Queensland and Regents Park in NSW.

It has 20 manufacturing operations throughout seven countries.

Aperio is a privately-owned company with 12 manufacturing plants throughout Australia and New Zealand and one in Thailand.

It was established in 2005 and since then has acquired Finewrap, a leading flexible packaging supplier as well as a number of other similar companies.

Amcor’s acquisition of Aperio is dependant on a number of factors, including the decision by the ACCC, which is concerned the merger would result in the company controlling more than 30 per cent of Australian flexible packaging sales.

Last week the consumer watchdog also expressed its concern over a proposed plans by the billionaire Pratt family, who own Visy Plastics, to buy a rival company, because it could drive the price of plastic bottles up significantly.

It would mean the company would account for twice the sales volumes of the next largest competitor, Sealed Air.

Flexible packaging is an integral tool for most Australian food manufacturers as it is included in includes most packaging for frozen foods, snack foods, and other foods in soft wraps.
In its Statement of Issues on the acquisition, the ACCC expressed its concern over the market share Amcor and Aperio has.

“Amcor and Aperio appear to be each others’ closest competitors in the flexible packaging market,” it said.

“Some packaging customers have identified to the ACCC how they trade Amcor and Aperio off against each other and have secured price reductions as a result.”

The ACCC is also assessing how supply of value-added flexible packaging to large packaging customers may be impacted by the proposed acquisition.

Submissions to the ACCC on the proposed acquisition have now closed and the ACCC’s findings are expected on 29 march 2012.