ACCC investigates Qube’s MCS acquisition


Competition watchdog to review deal that went through last month

ACCC investigates Qube’s MCS acquisition
Qube is to keep the MCS business separate and independent from its existing operations until the end of ACCC's review.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is carrying out a review of Qube Logistics’ acquisition of Maritime Container Services (MCS).

MCS operates shipping container import and export handling, empty container storage and road and rail transport services in Sydney.

The investigation is focused on the impact on competition and will review:

  • the impact on prices for empty container storage services
  • whether MCS and Qube compete closely in the supply of empty container storage services
  • whether Qube will restrict supply of empty container storage services to some customers as a result of the acquisition
  • whether Qube will restrict supply of road and/or rail transport services to customers of other empty container parks as a result of the acquisition.

On December 20 last year, a day before the acquisition was completed, the ACCC proposed to review Qube’s MCS acquisition under section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

As a result, Qube provided the ACCC with an undertaking that it will keep the MCS business separate and independent from the remainder of Qube's existing operations until at least March 14.

Until then, Qube will be subject to certain obligations including:

  • requiring Qube to hold its interest in the MCS business separate from Qube's other assets and businesses pending completion of the ACCC's review:
  • ensuring the MCS business continues to be a viable, effective, stand-alone and independent business during the review
  • requiring Qube to appoint approved managers with principal responsibility and control over the management and operations of the MCS business
  • protecting confidential information of the MCS business
  • providing for the effective oversight of Qube's compliance with the ACCC undertaking.

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