ACCC clears Transurban's Qld Motorways buy

Competition watchdog won't oppose acquisition of tollroad and associated assets.

The competition watchdog says it will not oppose Transurban Group's (TCL) proposed acquisition of Queensland Motorways Group's tollroad and associated assets.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement that there is no geographic overlap between Transurban and QM Group's activities, even though they are both involved in the ownership or operation of tollroads in Australia.

Transurban's tollroad operations and tag issuing businesses are based in NSW and Victoria, while QM Group's activities are limited to Queensland, the ACCC said.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the deal was unlikely to substantially lessen competition.

"The ACCC determined that the proposed acquisition would not enable Transurban to raise prospective rivals' costs, through higher roaming fees, for future opportunities to own and operate tollroad concessions," Mr Sims said.

The deal would increase Transurban's electronic tag base nationally, but due to the limited degree of interstate travel by motorists, combining the businesses was unlikely to increase Transurban's ability to raise roaming fees and affect the competitiveness of rival bids in each state, the ACCC said.

The watchdog also said the deal was unlikely to substantially lessen competition for the supply of electronic tolling services to tollroad owners and operators.

A number of alternatives to Transurban are available for tollroad owners and operators, including in-house development of toll collection systems and interntaional market participants, the ACCC said.

The power of state governments, who are responsible for awarding new tollroad concessions, would likely constrain Transurban in the supply of tolling services and in the market for the award of tollroad concessions, the watchdog said.

Transurban has entered an agreement to acquire the troubled tunnel for approximately $475 million.

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