The competition watchdog will not oppose the proposed purchase of several government-owned Brisbane roads by a consortium led by toll roads owner Transurban.
The consortium has bid for Queensland Motorways Group, which operates a 70 kilometre network of tolled roads in Brisbane including the Go Between Bridge, Clem Jones Tunnel and the Gateway and Logan motorways.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Friday said it would not oppose the acquisition if Transurban’s bid succeeds.
“The ACCC concluded that the acquisition of QM Group’s toll road operations in Queensland would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition,” chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
That was largely because Transurban currently has no assets in Queensland.
Transurban owns Melbourne’s CityLink, and Sydney’s M2, Lane Cove Tunnel and Cross City Tunnel.
It also has interests in other Sydney toll roads.
The proposed acquisition would increase Transurban’s electronic tag base nationally, but would not increase Transurban’s ability to raise “roaming” fees because interstate travel by motorists was fairly limited, the ACCC said.
Transurban’s bid for QM Group was also unlikely to substantially lessen competition for the supply of electronic tolling services to toll road owners and operators, it said.
There remained alternatives to Transurban, including in-house development of an electronic toll collection system and international market participants operating similar systems offshore, the ACCC said.
The consortium led by Transurban also comprises AustralianSuper and Tawreed Investments.
Queensland Motorways Group is being sold by the state-owned Queensland Investment Corp.
Transurban securities were up four cents at $7.30 at 1450 AEDT.