ACCC gives Spectrum Brands green light

For acquisition of battery business.

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of the global battery and portable lighting business of Spectrum Brands, Varta, by Energizer Holdings.

ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said the proposed acquisition would be likely to lessen competition in the market in Australia for consumer batteries, but not substantially.

“This means that the proposed acquisition would not breach section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Act,” he said.

Spectrum has less than 5% market share for consumer batteries in Australia. The ACCC investigation focussed on whether Spectrum will provide a strong competitive constraint on the market leaders, Energizer and Duracell, despite its small share of sales.

“Despite its strong brand recognition in Europe, Spectrum’s limited brand recognition in Australia and its limited market share mean Spectrum is unlikely to be a strong constraint on Energizer and Duracell in the medium-term. We also believe there are other brands and private label products that could fill a similar competitive niche in the market to Spectrum,” Featherston said.

“Energizer also faces strong competition in consumer batteries from Duracell, which is the other player in the market with a significant market share and strong brand recognition.

“In a separate market for the sale of hearing aid batteries, we found that Energizer and Spectrum do not generally compete for the same customers in Australia. A combined Energizer-Spectrum would also be constrained by several other branded and private label suppliers,” he added.

The ACCC did not consider there were competition issues in relation to the sale of portable lighting devices, such as torches.

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