Cleanaway’s proposed acquisition of parts of Suez’s waste assets not opposed

ACCC

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition by Cleanaway (ASX: CWY) of two landfills and five transfer stations in Sydney from Suez.

Cleanaway and Suez provide waste management services nationally. In Sydney, they own non-putrescible, or dry, landfills and transfer stations. Suez also owns a putrescible landfill in Sydney, but Cleanaway does not. ‘Putrescible’ waste refers to solid waste which contains organic matter such as food, general household and commercial waste.

“Our main focus was on the impact the acquisition might have on competition for the collection and processing of putrescible waste in Sydney and nationally,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

“We concluded that while the transaction would likely make Cleanaway a stronger competitor, it is unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition. This transaction is unlikely to significantly alter the current competitive dynamics in Sydney, or nationally, for putrescible waste.”

“A key factor was that Cleanaway currently owns only one putrescible transfer station in western Sydney, and no putrescible landfills, compared to the significant vertically integrated disposal networks of Suez and Veolia. In essence, the proposed acquisition would strengthen the vertically integrated position of Cleanaway and weaken the vertically integrated position of Suez,” Commissioner Ridgeway said.

In its analysis of competition in the market for non-putrescible waste disposal, the ACCC concluded there will remain a number of alternative inert landfills in the Sydney region that will continue to compete against Cleanaway following the acquisition.

The ACCC is separately investigating Veolia’s proposed acquisition of Suez’s remaining business. Veolia has offered an undertaking to divest Suez’s Seven Hills transfer station in Sydney, as well as other assets in Western Australia and South Australia, and a package of national commercial and industrial customer contracts and the proposed acquisition by Cleanaway needs to be considered in that context.

More information can be found on the ACCC’s public register here: Cleanaway Waste Management Limited – Certain Suez Recycling & Recovery Pty Ltd post-collection waste assets in Sydney

Background

Non-putrescible, or dry, waste does not contain putrescible organics such as food waste.

Cleanaway is the largest waste management company in Australia, supplying recycling, waste management and industrial services.

Suez is a listed holding company headquartered in France with global operations. In Australia, Suez supplies water management and technology, and waste management and resource recovery services.

On 5 April 2021, Cleanaway and Suez entered into an agreement for Cleanaway to purchase certain post-collection waste assets in Sydney, including a putrescible landfill at Lucas Heights, a non-putrescible landfill at Kemps Creek, and five transfer stations.

On 14 May 2021, Veolia and Suez entered into an agreement whereby Veolia would acquire Suez globally.

On 5 November 2021, the ACCC commenced consultation on divestiture undertakings proposed by Veolia in relation to its proposed acquisition of Suez. More information is available on the ACCC’s public register here: Veolia Environnement S.A – Suez S.A.

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