The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (“ICCC”) has issued a Statutory Notice to Paradise Company Limited (“Paradise”) to provide information relating to the acquisition of Laga Industries Limited (“Laga”).
The information requested is necessary for the ICCC to investigate the acquisition and would assist the ICCC in performing its statutory functions set out in the ICCC Act 2002.
The ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ain, revealed that the ICCC became aware of this acquisition on 03rd July, 2018 when news of the acquisition was published in the newspapers. Following the publication, the ICCC sought specific information from Paradise on 05th July, 2018 relating to the acquisition of Laga. Paradise was requested to provide the information to the ICCC by 20th July, 2018. However, Paradise has not complied in providing the information to the ICCC as requested.
“Given the fact that both Paradise and Laga are two well-established competitors in the food and beverage manufacturing industry in Papua New Guinea, there are genuine competition concerns that would require the ICCC’s thorough assessment and verification. As a result, a competition assessment is necessary for this acquisition.” Mr. Ain said.
Mr. Ain further stated that, “The ICCC has now served Paradise a Statutory Notice under Section 128 of the ICCC Act for it to provide the requested information and failure to comply will mean a contravention of the ICCC Act. The penalties for non-compliance of a Statutory Notice issued under Section 128 of the ICCC Act includes court ordered fines of K50,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of six months.”
“We gave Paradise sufficient time to provide the necessary information and even sent a follow-up letter to Paradise on 16th August, 2018. However, Paradise has neither responded nor provided the requested information to date, ” Mr. Ain added.
The ICCC also reserves its rights to institute legal action in Court to challenge the acquisition if it forms a concluded view that the acquisition would, or would be likely to substantially lessen competition in PNG.