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IP/07/1208

Brussels, 3rd August 2007

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into AEE's take-over of Lentjes GmbH

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the planned acquisition by Austrian engineering company Austrian Energy & Environment AG ("AEE") of its German competitor Lentjes GmbH ("Lentjes"), a company with activities in energy and environmental technology. The Commission’s initial market investigation found that the proposed acquisition may create competition problems given the two companies’ overlapping activities in the sectors of engineering and supply of municipal incineration plants. The decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 12th December 2007, to take a final decision on whether the concentration would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “AEE and Lentjes are active in a growing sector of increasing economic and environmental importance, where customers are often public bodies. It is therefore crucial that the Commission verifies that effective competition will be preserved so as to ensure an efficient use of taxpayers' money”.

AEE is a diversified engineering group with its main activities in the areas of combustion systems, grate-fired boilers, flue gas cleaning and flue gas desulphurisation systems.

Lentjes' main business area is the supply of complete waste-to-energy plants providing in particular the engineering part.

Both AEE and Lentjes are active in a range of similar businesses. They provide solutions for waste-to-energy plants, including for municipal waste incineration. In these markets the two companies are not only direct competitors, but are also among the leading companies in Europe. They also provide solutions for plants producing energy based on biomass and other fuels.

The Commission has opened a second phase investigation because it has serious doubts that the proposed merger and the subsequent concentration in the market for municipal waste incineration plants would lead to less choice for customers as well as higher prices. The in-depth investigation will also verify whether the merger could lead to foreclosure of competitors in the markets for plants based on fluidised bed technology since the target is one of few suppliers of a specific flue gas desulphurisation technology. More information on the case will be available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/mergers/cases/index/m92.html#m_4647


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