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Brussels, 30th March 2006

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Materis by Wendel Investissement

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Materis, a Luxemburg-based manufacturer of building materials, by Wendel Investissement, a French investment fund. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Wendel Investissement is a French holding company which controls companies active in real estate, oil and gas exploration and production, publishing, allergy treatment, and, through its subsidiary Bureau Veritas, the control and certification of products, processes and projects.

Materis produces four categories of products used to enhance cement and concrete properties (adjuvant, aluminates), to dress facades and fix tiles (industrial mortars), and to coat surfaces (paints).

While Wendel Investissement and Materis are not active on the same markets, Materis purchases the type of services provided by Wendel’s Bureau Veritas so that the Commission examined whether the operation would give rise to any risks of markets being closed off to competitors.

The Commission has concluded that the new entity will have no incentives to engage in anti-competitive behaviour after the operation, as Materis’ needs in the services provided by Bureau Veritas represent a marginal share of both Bureau Veritas’ turnover and Materis’ production costs. Furthermore, Bureau Veritas has no exclusivity on any of the services purchased by Materis and faces competition for each of them.

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