Getting hands on Hans

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently considering two separate proposals for the acquisiotion of certain assets of Hans Continental Smallgoods by either George Weston Foods or P&M Quality Smallgoods.

Hans, one of Australia’s largest smallgoods operators, entered voluntary administration on November 28, 2008 due to higher costs and stronger pork competition, which had placed great stress on the profitability of the business.

All three companies manufacture and distribute fresh pork, ham, bacon and smallgoods.

The ACCC is responsible for administering the Trade Practices Act 1974, which prohibits mergers and acquisitions that substantially lessen competition in a market, or are likely to do so.

The ACCC is conduscting market inquiries to assess whether either of the proposed acquisitions would be likely to breach section 50 of the Act and invites the public to comment on the proposals.

George Weson’s proposal is to acquire all of Hans’ assets, while P&M would like to acquire most of the assets of Hans, but not its Blacktown manufacturing facility nor its interest in Swickers abattoir and associated pig growing operations in Queensland.

Comment from interested parties on the two proposals must be made by 23 January, 2009. More details can be found at: www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/854788/fromItemId/750991

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