NEW ZEALAND – Kraft Heinz bid to acquire New Zealand’s maker of coffee, deserts and condiments, Cerebos Gregg’s has been granted approval by the New Zealand’s competition authority.

According to the Commerce Commission, the acquisition was subject to divestment for the Gregg’s brand of tomato ketchup, steak sauce, barbecue sauce and the F. Whitlock Worcestershire sauce brand due to competition concerns.

Competition issues were raised concerning manufacture, import and wholesale supply of a number of table sauces to supermarkets and the food service industry.

The commission noted that there was no competition in regard to acquisition of Asian sauces, condiments, chilli sauce, gravies, powdered beverages, and soy sauce.

“We believe the merger of the number one and two wholesale suppliers to supermarkets of red sauce, barbecue sauce, steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce would be likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in each of these markets.

However, we consider the divestment offered by Heinz Wattie’s is sufficient to remedy the competitive harm the merger would cause and we have given clearance to the merger subject to the divestment undertaking,” said Dr Mark Berry, Chairman of the Commerce Commission.

As a result of the acquisition, Cerebos Gregg’s will join Kraft Heinz’s New Zealand-based Heinz Wattie division.

Cerebos Gregg’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Suntory Holdings Limited.

Suntory entered an agreement to sell Cerebos Food & Instant Coffee business in Australia & New Zealand and Asian Home Gourmet Singapore business to the Kraft Heinz Company for approximately US$228 million in 2017.