In order to fully consider competition issues, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced a delay on the review of Sydney Transport Partners’ proposed acquisition of majority interest in the WestConnex project.
The decision date for this review was 19 July 2018 and has been delayed to 6 September 2018.
“WestConnex is an unusually large toll road project and we are dealing with unusually complex competition issues that we simply require more time to consider,” ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, said of the partially completed motorway development in Sydney.
On 17 May 2018, the ACCC published a statement of issues identifying preliminary competition concerns for future toll road concessions and road-on-road competition between Transurban’s existing toll roads and WestConnex in future.
“Since our statement of issues, we have been conducting a thorough analysis of the likely impact on competition from the proposed acquisition. We set ourselves a very tight nine-week review period after the statement of issues, to meet the state’s sale process timeline. However this has not been possible despite our best efforts,” Mr Sims said.
“We recognise that the decision to extend the timeline for our decision may have flow-on impacts for the WestConnex sale process, so we do not do this lightly. However, the reality is that this is a major transaction in the context of NSW toll roads, arguably the most significant in Australia in the foreseeable future,” Mr Sims said.
“We continue to have competition concerns, with many complex elements requiring analysis, and we need to get to the bottom of them before we make a decision.”