CCPC approves BWG’s acquisition of wholesale group

A number of binding commitments imposed on transaction

BWG now has a turnover of €1.4 billion and supplies a network of well over 1,000 stores including Spar. Photograph:  Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

BWG now has a turnover of €1.4 billion and supplies a network of well over 1,000 stores including Spar. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Spar operator BWG’s acquisition of a convenience wholesaler has been approved by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

The acquisition of 4 Aces Wholesale by BWG has been approved subject to a number of binding commitments including a divestment commitment, a firewall commitment and a confidentiality commitment.

The divestment commitment ensures BWG divests itself fully of the 4 Aces shareholding in Stonehouse, while the confidentiality and firewall commitments are intended to prevent the exchange of commercially sensitive information post-transaction.

After notification of the transaction in January, the CCPC undertook an in-depth investigation to establish whether it would result in a substantial reduction of competition in the State.

Concerns

The CCPC identified a potential competition concern in relation to access to competitively sensitive information, arising from 4 Aces’s relationship with Stonehouse Marketing and Gala Retail Services. The commitments, agreed to by BWG, are designed to address those concerns.

4 Aces has about 85 staff and had sales in 2016 of almost €58 million, turning a pretax profit of €440,000. In addition to supplying Gala stores, it supplies a wide range of other independent retailers and local stores.

BWG now has a turnover of €1.4 billion and supplies a network of more than 1,000 Spar, Eurospar, Mace, Londis and XL branded stores. It says it intends to grow the 4 Aces group.