The decline of competition: the emergence of a duopoly in the Australian sugar refinery sector, 1841-1915

Griggs, Peter (2001) The decline of competition: the emergence of a duopoly in the Australian sugar refinery sector, 1841-1915. Australian Geographer, 32 (3). pp. 359-376.

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The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the emergence of large single-product organisations whose expansion was stimulated by a desire to control a substantial part of a particular product market. An Australian example of a large single-product firm is the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd (CSR). By 1915, the company accounted for ninety per cent of refined sugar production in Australia. CSR had achieved this control over the Australian refined sugar market by using underselling, strategies that denied its competitors outlets for their refined sugars and amalgamations with rivals. CSR after 1890, however, was interested in sharing the Australian market for refined sugar with its rivals by forming spheres of influence in marketing areas or adopting production quotas, although the Queensland National Bank was the only organisation to successfully negotiate annual market share agreements with CSR in the 1900s. These agreements ensured the survival of its Millaquin Refinery. Other competitors eventually exited the industry. In 1915, the Commonwealth government institutionalised this duopoly in the sugar refining sector via agreements with CSR and the Queensland government, and allowed it to continue until deregulation of the Australian sugar-refining sector in the early1990s.

Item ID: 292
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1465-3311
Keywords: sugar, sugar refining, oligopoly, duopoly, markets, competition, Australia, Colonial Sugar Refining Company, CSR, Millaquin, Edward Knox
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2006
FoR Codes: 14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140201 Agricultural Economics @ 51%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified @ 49%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8203 Industrial Crops > 820304 Sugar @ 100%
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