Air conditioning and refrigeration merger could cut choice for Aberdeen customers

Colin Raftery (CMA Senior Director of Mergers)

Following a Phase 1 investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found that the deal between Wolseley UK Limited (Wolseley) and Kooltech Limited (Kooltech) raises competition concerns in Aberdeen – potentially leaving customers to face higher prices or lower quality services. 

Wolseley and Kooltech are both UK-wide suppliers of air conditioning (AC) and refrigeration products. Both businesses have multiple branches, including one each in Aberdeen, which are particularly important for customers with urgent demands or who prefer collecting in-store. 

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The merged business will continue to face sufficient competition from rivals in most locations. But the two companies are currently the only wholesalers of AC and refrigeration products in Aberdeen, so would face very limited competition after the merger. This could lead to higher prices and lower quality services, such as reduced availability of stock, for customers in that area. 

Colin Raftery, CMA Senior Director of Mergers, said: 

“Whilst the vast majority of businesses and other customers across the UK won’t lose out, we’re concerned that this deal could lead to higher prices and worse services for customers in the Aberdeen area. 

“Our investigation found that it’s important for customers to be able to access air conditioning or refrigeration products locally when they need to – so a merger between the only two suppliers in this area would be a significant loss of competition for customers.” 

Wolseley and Kooltech now have five working days to offer proposals to the CMA to address the competition concerns identified. The CMA would then have a further five working days to consider whether to accept these proposals in principle instead of referring the case for a Phase 2 investigation. 

Further details are available on the Wolseley/ Kooltech case page

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