Responding to the launch of the ACCC case against it for allegedly anti-competitive conduct amounting to the prevention of competitive supply of individual ice creams into the petrol and convenience retail channel, Peters (Australasian Food Group) has stated that it “has confidence in its position and the arguments that support it” and that it will “vigorously defend any proceedings”.
The ACCC’s Rod Sims outlined at the launch of proceedings that it was the Commissions position that “Peters’ conduct effectively raised barriers of entry, which hindered or prevented potential new entry into the market to supply single-serve ice cream products to petrol and convenience retailers”.
And further that the agreement contained a restriction condition that prevented PFD from distributing any competing ice cream products in certain locations around Australia, which amounts to Exclusive Dealing and is anticompetitive.
The ACCC alleges that Peters allegedly rejected requests by PFD to distribute other ice cream products to petrol stations and convenience stores and that new to market entrants were left with no distribution option at all. That PFD was the only distributor capable of distributing single-serve ice creams to national petrol and convenience retailers on a commercially viable basis and that as such the restriction had a tangible impact on competition.
The Peters has stated that for years there had been “an extensive number of commercially viable distribution options available for the delivery of ice cream products around Australia to petrol and convenience retailers”.
The ACCC has confirmed that the current Peters PFD agreement does not include the restriction term.