The proposed merger between the rural wholesale and merchandise companies Iama and Westfarmers has been conditionally approved by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). Allan Fels, chairman of the industry watchdog, revealed the decision yesterday (8 February).

Under the terms of the proposed merger, Westfarmers will control 60% of Iama, subject to a vote by shareholders today. For full approval by the ACCC however, the companies will have to lessen competition in certain market areas, for example fertiliser distribution in Western Australia.