Friday 23 December 2016 by William Arnold Company updates

The ACCC has expressed initial concerns about the proposed PMP-IPMG print merger

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a Statement of Issues expressing initial concerns about the proposed merger between print businesses PMP and IPMG

Details of this transaction can be found hereExternal link - opens in a new window.

The ACCC revealed its preliminary view that the merger would "substantially lessen competition in the supply of heatset web offset printing, the main method for printing catalogues and magazines".

"The ACCC is concerned that as the two largest suppliers in heatset printing, the merger of PMP and IPMG may see a reduction in competition with the number of significant suppliers in the market going from three to two," ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

"Despite a decline in circulation for magazines and the volume of catalogues distributed, the ACCC considers that there is a market for heatset web offset printing. Other forms of printing, such as coldset, digital, and sheet-fed, will not provide a significant competitive constraint for many heatset customers."

It is the second time that the two companies have tried to merge. The first attempt in 2001 was blocked by competition concerns.

The ACCC is seeking industry comments by 31 January 2017 and a final decision is expected on 23 February 2017. PMP and IPMG have agreed to extend the proposed completion to this date. PMP state that the delay is not expected to impact the trading update provided on 16 DecemberExternal link - opens in a new window.

If the deal does proceed, leverage is expected to increase initially but we viewed the merger to be long term credit positive as synergy benefits come through and excess capacity is taken out of the merged entity.

The full media release can be found hereExternal link - opens in a new window.

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