The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Waterlogic Group Holdings Limited (Waterlogic) by the Culligan Group (Culligan), after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking from Culligan’s parent company, Osmosis Buyer Limited, to divest the Billi business.
Waterlogic and Culligan are the leading providers of domestic and commercial instant filtered water taps used to dispense boiling and chilled water. In Australia the parties are best known by the Zip (Culligan) and Billi (Waterlogic) brands.
“Without the divestment of Billi, Culligan’s acquisition was likely to substantially lessen competition in the supply of multi-functional taps. The acquisition would have combined the two largest suppliers in Australia, potentially resulting in price rises or reductions in quality or innovation,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.
The undertaking requires Osmosis to divest the Billi business to a purchaser approved by the ACCC.
“The divestiture of the Billi business ensures there will remain at least two key competitors for the supply of multi-functional taps,” Mr Ridgeway said.
“In relation to bottle-free coolers, wall-mounted boilers, bubblers and other water dispensing solutions, which the two companies also supply, we consider that Culligan will continue to face sufficient competition from alternative suppliers.”
The ACCC will release a Public Competition Assessment in due course.
Further information, including the undertaking accepted by the ACCC, can be found on the ACCC’s public register here: Culligan Group (Culligan) – Waterlogic Group Holdings Limited (Waterlogic)
The Culligan Group, controlled by Osmosis Buyer Limited (Osmosis), is an international provider of water treatment solutions. In Australia, Culligan primarily operates through Zip Industries (Aust) Pty Ltd and Zip Heaters (Aust) Pty Ltd (together, Zip). Zip primarily generates revenue from the sale and servicing of multi-functional taps.
Waterlogic Group Holdings, which is controlled by Firewall S.A.R.L., is an international provider of purified water dispensers. In Australia, they operate through the Waterlogic Australia and Billi brands.
Culligan’s Zip business and Waterlogic’s Billi business compete in the manufacture, supply and servicing of multi-functional taps. Zip also competes with Waterlogic Australia to manufacture, supply and service MFTs, bottle-free coolers, wall mounted boilers, bubblers and other drinking water solutions.
The transaction is a global transaction, which has received clearance in Austria, Germany and the United States. New Zealand have cleared the transaction subject to a divestiture remedy to divest the entire Waterlogic New Zealand subsidiary, Merquip, which distributes Billi products in New Zealand.