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Brussels, 1st December 2004

Mergers: Commission clears Körber’s acquisition of Winkler + Dünnebier

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the German company Winkler + Dünnebier AG (W+D), a manufacturer of specialised paper-products machinery, by Körber AG of Hamburg, Germany, another engineering group. Although W+D has strong positions in certain market segments, such as tissue-fold machines for the production of handkerchiefs and envelope and pocket machines, Körber is not a direct competitor in these fields. Körber has launched a public take-over bid for W+D, which is a Frankfurt stock exchange listed company.

The Commission investigated both horizontal and potential conglomerate effects of the notified transaction. It concluded that the companies’ activities do not overlap in any given market segment and, thus, do not reduce the number of competitors in any of the specialised product areas where the combined Körber and W+D will be active. In the wider area of tissue and paper-product machines, a significant number of competitors remain after the transaction. The Commission also found that no anti-competitive conglomerate effects could arise as a result of the transaction. It consequently cleared the transaction unconditionally after a one-month investigation.

Körber is an international engineering technology group active in the production and marketing of cigarette, paper, tissue, hygiene and packaging production machines.

W+D, based in Neuwied, Germany, is active in the production and marketing of tissue and envelope production machines.

The Commission investigated the transaction as a result of a referral request by Körber. The referral mechanism, which was introduced on 1 May 2004, enables companies who do not meet the turnover thresholds for automatic EU jurisdiction (for example, €5 billion worldwide turnover) to avoid separate filings in multiple Member States. Without the referral, Körber would have had to notify its acquisition separately to the competition authorities of Austria, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.

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