industry stakeholders would be aware that the two major supermarkets entered
into voluntary undertakings with the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission in 2012 in response to a substantial body of evidence pointing to
the adverse competitive impact of high value shopper dockets on competition
within the Australian retail fuels market.
simply, the ACCC sought to prohibit the two supermarkets from subsidising fuel
purchases from their grocery businesses given that this mechanism (i.e. stacking)
was not available to other fuel retailers – and given that the introduction of shopper
dockets appeared to have been responsible for dramatic changes in retail market
shares within the national fuel retail market.
is less well understood, however, is that these undertakings did not prohibit
the use of shopper dockets but rather, required the supermarket retailers to
fund the discount from their fuel businesses – not their grocery businesses – and
capped the value of the discount at 4cpl”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.
effectiveness of these agreements is self-evident. In the 7-year period since
these arrangements were put in place, market shares have rebalanced towards not
supermarket and independent fuel retails in a sustainable manner.
in the nature of the alliance arrangements between Coles and Viva Energy
announced late last year, however, meant that there was a need to revisit the
nature of Coles Express’ undertaking with the ACCC.
understood that Coles subsequently made an application to the ACCC vary their
undertaking with a view to bringing the the nature of the shopper-docket
undertraining into line with the architecture of the new commercial arrangements
that have recently been finalised with Viva Energy (The new arrangements
effectively mean that Coles Express is selling fuel on behalf of Viva Energy on
an ‘agency’ (or Commission) basis, as opposed to the previous arrangement where
Coles Express purchased fuel on a wholesale basis from Viva Energy and retailed
this fuel in its own right).
latest Quarterly Petrol Price Monitoring Report, released earlier today, the
ACCC has advised the market that they had agreed to vary the Coles’ voluntary shopper
docket undertaking in line with the changed operational arrangements between
VIVA energy and Coles Express.
the new arrangements maintain the 4cpl cap on the value of the shopper dockets
that can be marketed by Coles Express in the future.
decision in respect of this matter is a welcome one in that it highlights the capacity
of our national competition regulator to accommodate the inevitable changes in
market structure that occur in our market from time to time, whilst simultaneously
ensuring valid competition safeguards
remain in place for all market participants”, Mark concluded.