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Brussels, 3 February 2000

Commission agrees to dissolution of BP/Mobil Joint Venture, a European fuel and lubricants producer and retailer; the dissolution was a condition of the ExxonMobil merger clearance decision

The European Commission has authorised two acquisitions whereby Exxon Mobil Corporation ("Exxonmobile") (USA) and BP Amoco plc ("BPA") (UK) each acquire certain parts of the BP/Mobil Joint Venture, active on the European fuel and lubricants markets. The acquisitions are the result of a commitment given by Exxon Corporation ("Exxon") and Mobil Corporation ("mobil") to secure Commission approval for their merger earlier last year.

In its decision of 29 September 1999(1) assessing the Exxon/Mobil merger, the Commission identified competition problems on the fuel retailing markets in Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and on French motorways. Competition concerns where also identified on the EEA market for Group 1 base oils, an important ingredient for finished lubricants. In order to secure the Commission's approval of the ExxonMobil merger, Exxon and Mobil committed to sell the joint venture's fuels assets as well as two of its base oil manufacturing plants.

ExxonMobil and BP Amoco (BPA) agreed shortly thereafter on the way to dissolve the joint venture. BPA acquired the fuels assets, two base oil manufacturing plants and a substantial part of the joint venture's finished lubricants business. ExxonMobil retained some of the other base oil plants and a part of the finished lubricants business.

By today's decisions, the Commission has formally approved the two transactions that each triggered the threshold criteria for formal notification under the Merger Regulation. Positive decisions are warranted because, on the one hand, the transactions resolve competition problems on the fuel and base oil markets, and, on the other hand, they are pro-competitive as BPA is re-established as an independent competitor on the finished lubricants markets, markets where the Commission had not identified a competition problem resulting from the ExxonMobil merger.

(1) see IP/99/708

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