BP’s takeover of Woolworth’s service stations on hold as ACCC delays ruling

By Addie Thomes

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has put the brakes on BP’s plan to takeover Woolworths fuel stations, saying it needs more time to consider evidence.

BP wants to assume control of more than 500 Woolworths service stations in Australia, and was expecting to find out if the ACCC had cleared the move on 26 October. However, the date has been pushed back to 30 November.

At the end of August, the ACCC approved a fuel voucher discount scheme proposed by the two parties, but imposed a limit of four cents a litre amid concerns they could price competition out of the market.   

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BP has been looking to buy Woolworths’ fuel business ever since the retailer intended to sell it, but he ACCC is likely to find concern with the diminishing effect this will have on competition and choice for consumers.

If the deal is to go ahead, the two companies will also rollout 200 new fuel convenience stores similar to those operated by Viva Energy and Caltex. BP also plans to keep the discount offer if the acquisition goes ahead.

ACCC’s delay, while only being a month, caused a slight fall in Woolworths share prices to its lowest value since January.

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