Shares in petrol retailer Z Energy fell by 2.4 per cent this morning after a Commerce Commission report took a swipe at competition in New Zealand's petrol and diesel market.
By 10.30 am the stock was down 17 cents at $6.44 while the market overall was firm.
Craigs Investment Partners head of private wealth research Mark Lister said Z's share price had not "fallen off a cliff" but that the decline was probably on the back of the Commerce Commission report.
Z Energy is due to hold a conference call with analysts this afternoon.
"It is an incremental negative from an investment perspective," Lister said.
"The industry has always had the spotlight on it and I think it always will," he said.
The key themes of the report were similar to previous reports about the state of play in the fuel sector.
"It does keep the pressure on all the players, including Z, to make sure that they do not attract further attention and for them to make the industry more competitive," he said.
Lister said the report was a "small negative" for Z but one that had kept its share price under downward pressure.
The commission said earlier a stranglehold on the wholesale supply of petrol and diesel is at the core of New Zealand's less than fully competitive transport fuel market and it should be loosened.
Wholesale infrastructure sharing arrangements between the three largest fuel retailers - Z Energy, BP and Mobil - gives them "an advantage over any other potential rival importers, as their costs to deliver fuel are lower," said the competition watchdog's chief executive, Anna Rawlings.
"They also have long-term supply relationships with their resellers, most of whom have only ever had the same supplier, which has made it very difficult for competitors to enter or compete more vigorously in the market," she said.
The large players also have "limited incentive to compete with each other during the terms of their supply contracts".
"As a result, competitive pressure does not appear to be driving down wholesale prices in New Zealand."
The commission proposes opening up the wholesale market for petrol and diesel, 90 percent of which is supplied by the big three players, to make it easier for petrol stations to switch suppliers and allow greater participation by competitors in the infrastructure owned by the three big suppliers under arrangements that date back to before the sector was deregulated in 1988.
Such a move could help smaller fuel retailers like Waitomo, Allied Petroleum, GAS and Gull compete with the major firms' dominance of the country's petrol and diesel sales and control of most of the country's fuel storage around the country.
Staff Reporter, BusinessDesk.