Air Niugini Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Link PNG Limited, proposes to acquire a controlling interest in PNG Air Limited (PNG Air). Link PNG is proposing to acquire up to 60% shares in PNG Air.
ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Paulus Ain said the proposed transaction is going through various regulatory approvals and one of them is seeking authorization from the ICCC.
“Link PNG has lodged an application for Authorization with the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission.”
“If the ICCC grants Authorization, the proposed transaction will proceed and it will not be challenged for potential breach of the competition law provisions of the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (Amendment) Act 2018 (ICCC Act).”
Authorization application for business mergers and acquisitions is a statutory process for seeking approval from the ICCC to proceed with any business mergers and acquisitions that would otherwise raise serious competition concerns and potentially breach the ICCC Act.
Mr. Ain added that in PNG, there are only two main airlines competing and providing domestic freight and passenger services and therefore the ICCC will assess this application carefully.
“Link PNG had initially applied for Clearance from the ICCC but the ICCC has directed Link PNG to apply for authorisation because the ICCC believed that the proposed transaction is likely to raise serious competition concerns and may not pass the ‘competition test’.”
Under the authorisation assessment process, the ICCC can allow transactions that are likely to raise serious competition concerns if the likely public benefits resulting from the acquisition are greater. If the ICCC considers otherwise, authorization shall be declined.
Mr. Ain further advised that Authorisation is a public and transparent process where the ICCC invites all stakeholders and the general public to provide their comments and views on any proposed merger or acquisition. As such, the ICCC is now inviting comments and submissions from all parties to provide their comments and views on this proposed acquisition.
All information provided will be treated as public unless the submitter requests confidentiality. The ICCC will assess such claims and advise the concerned person if it decides to disclose confidential information on public interest grounds.