Chevron NZ Sale Draws Complaints

Two competitors have filed objections to Z Energys planned takeover of Chevron New Zealand, which sells Caltex branded fuels and lubricants.

Mobil Oil New Zealand lodged a statement with the New Zealand Commerce Commission warning of reduced competition in the fuels markets if the agency approves Z Energys proposal to buy the local downstream subsidiary of United States-based Chevron for NZ$785 million (U.S. $499 million).

We have no concerns to raise with the commission in relation to the lubricants market, Mobil NZ spokesman Samantha Potts told Lube Report Asia. Mobil engine oils are marketed and distributed in NZ through Allied Petroleum.

Z Energy doesn't presently own any lubricant business. However, its takeover of Chevron NZ would give it 49 percent of the retail fuel market, according to an article in the National Business Review. Mobil contended Z Energy would also gain an unfair advantage thanks to loyalty and fuel discount agreements.

Fuel retailer Gull New Zealand also filed a submission with the regulator, citing anti-competitive concerns. The Commerce Commission has identified several areas of potential concern, including questions of whether the acquisition would reduce competition in the fuels market and whether it would enable Z Energy to raise prices for competitors. The agency said it expects to announce its decision on December 18.

Z Energy was established five years ago when it acquired Shell NZ's fuel distribution business.