The Commerce Commission has granted clearance for Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited to acquire either the shares of Treble Cone Investments Limited or the assets it uses to operate the Treble Cone ski field.
In considering Cardrona’s application for clearance, the Commission focussed on whether the price of single day, multi day and season ski passes would increase with the acquisition, including to skiers in the Wanaka region, and whether the acquisition would increase the likelihood of coordination on ski pass prices. The Commission also considered the extent to which an alternative purchaser would invest in, and develop, the Treble Cone ski field.
Chair Anna Rawlings said the Commission is satisfied that the acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant market. The merged entity would be unable to successfully charge higher prices, or reduce the quality of the services offered, due to the high numbers of skiers from outside the region with alternative options.
“We are satisfied that there is unlikely to be a material difference in the extent to which Treble Cone competes, either with its current ownership structure, or with an alternative owner. We also considered that the high fixed cost nature of ski field operations, and the need to maximise the number of skiers using a ski field would make coordination between the merged entity and other ski fields in the region unlikely”. Ms Rawlings said.
A public version of the written reasons for the decision will be available on the Commission’s case register in the near future.
Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited is the owner and operator of the Cardrona ski field, which is located above the Cardrona township between Wanaka and Queenstown. Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited is part of the Wayfare group of companies.
Treble Cone Investments Limited owns and operates the Treble Cone ski area, near Wanaka.
Both the Cardrona and the Treble Cone ski fields offer a mix of trails for skiing and snowboarding, catering for beginners through to expert skiers and boarders, as well as equipment sales and hire, food and beverage services, and sightseeing.