New Zealand’s competition authority has approved Kraft Heinz’s acquisition of the food and instant coffee business of Suntory-owned Cerebos Gregg’s, subject to a divestment of several sauce brands.
The Commerce Commission ruled that Kraft Heinz would have to divest the licenses for the Gregg’s brand of tomato ketchup, steak sauce, barbecue sauce and the F. Whitlock Worcestershire sauce brand due to competition concerns.
The Commission considered competition issues regarding the manufacture, import and wholesale supply of a number of table sauces to supermarkets and the food service industry.
However, the Commission was satisfied that there were no competition concerns with regards to the acquisition of Asian sauces, condiments, chilli sauce, gravies, powdered beverages, and soy sauce.
Cerebos Gregg’s will join Kraft Heinz’s New Zealand-based Heinz Wattie division as a result of the acquisition.
Chairman of the Commerce Commision Dr Mark Berry said: “We believe the merger of the number one and two wholesale suppliers to supermarkets of red sauce, barbecue sauce, steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce would be likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in each of these markets.
“However, we consider the divestment offered by Heinz Wattie’s is sufficient to remedy the competitive harm the merger would cause and we have given clearance to the merger subject to the divestment undertaking.”
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