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Australian Competition and Consumer Commission greenlights Spicers' Direct Paper acquisition
AUSTRALIA (From news reports) -- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Direct Paper by Spicers. The move clears the way for Spicers to complete the merger next Friday.

The ACCC found that alternative suppliers of commercial printing paper, and direct supply arrangements between printers and paper mills, would continue to provide strong competition and constrain paper prices.

ACCC commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said, "We have looked closely at this proposed transaction, because it combines two of the larger paper merchants in these cities. However, we decided not to oppose this deal because we considered that rival merchants will continue to provide strong competition. Smaller customers generally have several alternative sources of supply, and larger customers can also import paper directly from paper mills."

Ridgeway said the commission found, "many printers in Sydney and Melbourne were comfortable with alternative suppliers. In Brisbane, where there are fewer competitors, we found that others are likely to expand or enter the market post-acquisition if prices rise, as barriers to expansion in Brisbane are unlikely to be significant. Direct Paper itself expanded into Brisbane in 2017."

David Martin, Spicers CEO, said the company was taking a "business as usual" approach from day one.

"With only an ABN change for Direct Paper, our customers will see a team wanting to maximise our service and growth opportunities together," Martin said.

"We're starting with the understanding that we have a great collective team, and the knowledge that our customers just want us to continue to meet our promise."

Spicers said the business intends to have one sales representative contact for all print and packaging products to each customer, and customer service contacts and numbers remain unchanged.

Dale O'Neill, Direct Paper director - who with his brother Todd will join the merged operaiton, said, "We can see a lot of potential now having access to each other's range of products and we think our customers will really benefit from this team coming together."

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