It’s tough being number one in any market these days, but it’s even more difficult when you’re in the alcohol space. At least that’s how probably Heineken feels: almost immediately after the Competition Commission of Singapore (CSS) essentially forced its hand to end Asia Pacific Breweries (APB)’s practice of supplying draught beer to retail outlets solely on an exclusivity basis, the competition commission has just turned its watchful eye on its recent acquisition of GAPL Pte Ltd.
GAPL – originally a joint venture between by spirits company Diageo and Heineken Asia – operates as a holding company, and through its subsidiary markets and distributes stout (specifically ABC Extra Stout, Guinness Draught and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout) throughout Singapore. Heineken on 7 October completed the acquisition of GAPL in its entire issued and outstanding ordinary share capital which it did not already hold, thereby owning the entire company. GAPL does not directly produce or distribute those stout brands in Singapore, but holds these brand licenses in the country.
The Competition Commission of Singapore is concerned that the acquisition may result in a substantial lessening of competition within the alcohol market in Singapore as governed by section 58 of the Competition Act (Cap. 50B), and currently conducting a public consultation from 17 November to 27 November 2015 to invite interested parties to provide feedback on the acquisition of GAPL Pte. Ltd.
More information on the public consultation can be accessed and downloaded from the CCS website at www.ccs.gov.sg under the section “Public Register and Consultation”. The closing date for submissions is on or before 27 November 2015, so if interested or aggrieved members of the trade or public has any concerns they should file those issues before that deadline.
Heineken Asia must really feel that they have been unfairly singled out; closest competitor Carlsberg’s similar acquisition of beer and spirits distribution company MayBev got nary a peep from the competition commission. But when you’re Goliath, you’re an easy target for others to cast stones at you.