ACCC gives green light to Cleanaway’s proposed acquisition of Suez’s waste assets

ACCC will not oppose proposed acquisition by Cleanaway of two landfills and five transfer stations in Sydney from Suez.

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition by Cleanaway of two landfills and five transfer stations in Sydney from Suez.

Cleanaway and Suez provide waste management services nationally. In Sydney, they own non-putrescible, or dry, landfills and transfer stations. Suez also owns a putrescible landfill in Sydney, but Cleanaway does not.

‘Putrescible’ waste refers to solid waste which contains organic matter such as food, general household and commercial waste.

“Our main focus was on the impact the acquisition might have on competition for the collection and processing of putrescible waste in Sydney and nationally,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

“We concluded that while the transaction would likely make Cleanaway a stronger competitor, it is unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition. This transaction is unlikely to significantly alter the current competitive dynamics in Sydney, or nationally, for putrescible waste.”

“A key factor was that Cleanaway currently owns only one putrescible transfer station in western Sydney, and no putrescible landfills, compared to the significant vertically integrated disposal networks of Suez and Veolia. In essence, the proposed acquisition would strengthen the vertically integrated position of Cleanaway and weaken the vertically integrated position of Suez,” Commissioner Ridgeway said.

In its analysis of competition in the market for non-putrescible waste disposal, the ACCC concluded there will remain a number of alternative inert landfills in the Sydney region that will continue to compete against Cleanaway following the acquisition.

The ACCC is separately investigating Veolia’s proposed acquisition of Suez’s remaining business. Veolia has offered an undertaking to divest Suez’s Seven Hills transfer station in Sydney, as well as other assets in Western Australia and South Australia, and a package of national commercial and industrial customer contracts and the proposed acquisition by Cleanaway needs to be considered in that context.

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