COLES ENTERS THE READY TO EAT MEALS MARKET

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Jewel Fine Foods (in voluntary administration) by Chef Fresh Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Coles Group.

Jewel Fine Foods (Jewel), which has been in voluntary administration since April 2019, manufactures a range of branded and private-label chilled ready meals. Coles does not currently manufacture these products, but is Jewel’s major customer.

In September 2019, the ACCC opposed the sale of Jewel to B&J City Kitchen on the basis that it would be likely to substantially lessen competition for the supply of chilled ready meals.

“Coles’ acquisition of Jewel ensures that there will still be two major suppliers of chilled ready meals,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

“We are pleased that the administration process will end with Jewel’s business continuing as a going concern and competing with other suppliers.”

“The ACCC investigation focussed on whether other retailers would be foreclosed if Coles acquired the business. We found that Woolworths already has supply arrangements with Jewel’s competitor, B&J City Kitchen, and that other retailers have other options,” Ridgeway said.

Information available to the ACCC indicated that without a going concern sale to Coles, the next best alternative for Jewel’s administrators would likely be liquidation of the assets.

“The continuation of Jewel’s production of chilled ready meals is a better outcome for competition than liquidation of the assets.”

“The ACCC investigation commenced before the current increase in demand for groceries. However we consider our decision remains appropriate.”

Further information is available at Coles – Jewel Fine Foods.