Mergers: Commission clears proposed acquisition of GBI UK by Lesaffre, subject to conditions
European Commission - IP/08/1135 11/07/2008
Brussels, 11th July 2008
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of GBI UK - GB Ingredients Ltd and BFP Wholesale Ltd -engaged in the yeast business and owned by Gilde B.V, by the French yeast manufacturer Compagnie des Levures Lesaffre. The Commission's decision is conditional upon Lesaffre's commitment to divest GBI's yeast production facility in Felixstowe, UK. The Commission has concluded that the transaction, as modified by this commitment, would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Lesaffre is a privately-owned family company, which focuses on three main business areas: yeast, yeast extracts and bakery ingredients. Lesaffre has manufacturing facilities in 26 countries, including France and Belgium.
GBI UK consists of a yeast manufacturing business (GBI) and a wholesale distribution of yeast and bakery ingredients business (BFP) in the UK. Prior to its acquisition by Lesaffre, GBI UK was controlled by GBI Holding International, ultimately controlled by Gilde, a Dutch private equity investor.
The transaction was initially notified to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the UK competition authority, as it did not meet the turnover thresholds to fall within the scope of the EC Merger Regulation. However, the OFT requested the Commission to examine this concentration pursuant to Article 22 of the Merger Regulation.
The Commission's initial market investigation found that the notified transaction raised competition concerns in the UK market for liquid and compressed yeast. The transaction reduces three competitors down to two in the UK with respect to both liquid and compressed yeast. Lesaffre and ABF would remain the only suppliers of yeast in the UK and it is unlikely that other suppliers would have the ability and incentive to enter the market. To remove the Commission's concerns, Lesaffre offered to divest GBI's yeast production facility in Felixstowe, UK. The Commission concluded that such a divestment is suitable to address the competition concerns initially identified in the market investigation.
More information on the case will be available at: