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Z Energy publishes margin data in ongoing battle with government over prices

Z Energy has repeatedly claimed government figures on fuel margins are wrong, but has been dismissed by Energy Minister Judith Collins and the government agency which publishes the figures.

New Zealand's largest fuel company has published figures about its margins in recent months in a bid to show official data is wrong.

As the political debate around petrol margins intensifies, Z Energy has moved to update investors through a statement to the stock exchange. 

"Z has received multiple queries from media and shareholders regarding commentary around retail fuel margins and alleged changes in Z's pricing behaviour, some of which have resulted in questions regarding Z's reputation and approach to competition," the company, which also owns the Caltex brand and distribution rights, said in a statement.

Z Energy took the unusual step of publishing margin data in an update to shareholders. The data is designed to back its claim that its margins in recent months have been much more stable than government figures suggest.

The pressure comes on the back of data published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on the margins retailers are making on petrol on diesel.

Fresh concerns about NZ fuel market competitiveness
Energy Minister accuses petrol companies of 'cynical' price rise around school holidays
Petrol back above $2 a litre as pricing inquiry fades into the past
How does Gull, a minnow among fuel giants, cut prices across the board?
If the petrol is the same across the country, how can prices vary so much?

On the face of it the data - which is subject to quarterly revision - suggests that margins collapsed in the weeks leading up to an inquiry into fuel margins, before rising strongly weeks later.


The increase prompted Energy Minister Judith Collins to accuse the fuel industry of "cynical" moves, linking the timing of increases to the start of school holidays.

MBIE later said claims by some industry players that regional discounting collapsed meaning margins were much lower than the figures suggested were "highly unusual".

"It raises questions around the timing of these price changes and the overall competitiveness of the market," MBIE said in a statement.

But Z Energy said it had raised concerns about the "inaccuracy" of the data in a meeting with MBIE on July 25.

At a second meeting, on August 31, the company "provided MBIE officials with data as evidence of its concerns".

"Z confirms that its approach to pricing has not changed over the period and that the concerns that have caused the enquiries are not reflected in the actual fuel margin received by Z."

Shares in Z Energy dropped 12 cents of 1.6 per cent to $7.35, the lowest level since April.







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