ACCC calls for comment on Perpetual's Trust buy

Competition watchdog says proposed takeover may raise competition concerns.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has warned that Perpetual Ltd's proposed acquisition of The Trust Company Ltd may raise competition concerns.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, the watchdog invited submissions from customers, competitors and others about the proposed takeover and its "preliminary" competition concerns about corporate trust services.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said both Perpetual and The Trust Company are strong providers of some types of custody services.

"In particular, our market inquiries to date have identified concerns amongst some industry participants about the strength of Perpetual’s existing position in relation to trustee services for debt capital market products and about the risk that the proposed acquisition would entrench its position," Mr Sims said.

But other factors impose competitive constraint on Perpetual, such as competition from existing trust corporations and the ability of some customers to provide these services in house, he said.

"The nature of this industry means that verifiable market share figures are not available, and the ACCC has to date received conflicting information about the relative strengths of the competitors and other potential competitive constraints."

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