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Brussels, 24 March 2000

Commission approves take-over of Meyer International plc by Compagnie de Saint-Gobain

The European Commission has approved an operation by which the French company Saint-Gobain, active in the production, sale and distribution of glass, high performance materials and building materials acquires sole control of the British builders merchant group Meyer. The two companies in their distribution activities are largely focussed on different products and clients and their activities overlap only with regard to pipes and municipal castings in the UK. Even in these markets they do not achieve very high combined market shares and Saint-Gobain/Meyer both in the distribution and in the production of building materials will be facing competition from a number of important national and European competitors. Therefore, the concentration will not give rise to any concerns with regard to its impact on effective competition.

Saint-Gobain is an international group involved in the manufacture and distribution of flat glass, insulation products, industrial ceramics, and abrasives and in the manufacture and specialised distribution of building materials and pipes. In the UK Saint-Gobain is active through its subsidiary Oliver Ashworth (OAG). Meyer is involved principally in the UK, in the distribution of building products, through its subsidiaries Jewson and Graham, the largest UK builders merchants.

The two companies largely sell to different customers: Jewson/Graham are general builders' merchants mainly selling to small building contractors, OAG is a specialist distributor mainly selling to public entities in the water industry. Even if the relevant market is considered to comprise both general and specialist distribution, combined market shares achieved in above ground soil and drain pipes, water pipes, sewer and drain pipes and municipal castings are not very high in respect to market shares of Saint-Gobain/Meyer's competitors.

The vertical relationship between the parties is very small, too and only concerns a small number of products (water pipes, municipal castings, abrasives, mortars, insulation products, tiles and glass). Of the products which Saint-Gobain can or could supply to Jewson/Graham these products themselves account for only a small proportion of the target's business. Furthermore, the upstream markets for the production of these products are very competitive and access to those products for Meyer's competitors is not threatened by the present concentration.

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