It’s been revealed that the Commerce Commission has given its approval and paved the way for Air Liquide’s New Zealand subsidiary to acquire all the shares of ASCOGAS, tightening up the region’s market in the process.

The New Zealand subsidiary of France’s Air Liquide Group produces and supplies industrial gases including oxygen, nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide, while ASCOGAS is a privately-owned company distributing a similar range of gases and it had been feared that the proposed acquisition would lessen the competitive edge in the region.

The Commission is believed to be satisfied however, that the deal will not have the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in any of the markets and has given its blessing to the transaction. Both companies supply customers in both the North and South Island but Air Liquide’s main markets are in the North Island, compared to ASCOGAS’s main interests in the South Island. This is not thought to have been the only reason behind sanctioning the proposal though.

Commission Chair Paula Rebstock noted that in making the decision the presence of Linde’s BOC in the market was also a determining factor. The commission considered that the acquisition could be pro-competitive as it would allow Air Liquide an expanded national presence that would make it a more effective competitor to BOC and as a result, tighten up an interesting market in the Southern Hemisphere.