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ICCC Gives Go Signal for Paradise Company Limited to Aquire Hugo Canning

The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) has recently announced that the Paradise Company Limited can now acquire shares in Hugo Canning Company Limited.

“This essentially means that, in its considerations of likely negative effects this acquisition may have on competition, the ICCC did not find any serious concerns,” stated the consumer watchdog. “On 04th December 2020, Paradise Co lodged a clearance application seeking approval from the ICCC to proceed with acquiring Hugo. Paradise Co is 100 per cent owned by local companies; namely Nambawan Super Limited and Comrade Trustees Limited, having 91 per cent and 9 per cent interest respectively. Paradise Co is in the food manufacturing business but more specifically manufactures biscuits, chocolates and beverages (bottled water). Hugo, on the other hand, manufactures and distributes imported canned protein. It manufactures the famous Ox & Palm corned beef and the exclusive local importer and distributor of Ocean Blue branded tinned fish, besides other products. Since it is owned by HJ. Heinz Company Australia Limited (“Heinz”), it also does the exclusive distribution of Heinz’s products in PNG.”

According to ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Paulus Ain, the proposed acquisition needs the approval of ICCC as the transaction value was greater than K50 million, leading to Paradise Co with more than 50 per cent market share.

“For any clearance applications, the ICCC is required to assess competition effects associated with the proposed acquisition,” Commissioner Ain clarified. “If the ICCC is not satisfied that a proposed acquisition will not have, and will not be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening of competition in a market, the ICCC declines to give clearance for that proposed acquisition. Conversely, the ICCC gives clearance if it is satisfied that a proposed acquisition will not have, and will not be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in the relevant market.”

Commissioner Ain added they were satisfied with the proposed acquisition, and would not likely have the impact of significant lessening competition in identified markets. Last December 31, 2020, ICCC gave clearance for this proposed acquisition to move forward.

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