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Brussels, 8 th July 2009

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Noble European Holdings by ArcelorMittal

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Dutch company Noble European Holdings B.V., a subsidiary of Noble International Ltd. of the US, by ArcelorMittal of Luxembourg. 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.

ArcelorMittal is a global company active in the production, distribution, marketing and sale of steel products and, to a lesser extent, of first transformation steel products. ArcelorMittal is also active in the mining business.

Noble European Holdings is the holder of several companies producing tailor welded blanks (TWBs). TWBs are largely used in the motor vehicle industry and are produced by cutting to size and welding together various individual pieces of uncoated and/or coated sheet, enabling complex shapes embodying steel of different grades and thickness to be produced. TWBs allow automobile parts to be produced with a minimum quantity of steel, thereby reducing overall vehicle weight while increasing vehicles' impact safety performance.Through the proposed takeover, ArcelorMittal would regain control over the TWB business in Europe, which it had sold to Noble International Ltd in 2007. These activities are currently carried out by Noble European Holdings B.V., a subsidiary of Noble International Ltd.

The Commission's investigation showed that the parties' activities in the TWB business do not overlap in the EEA and would lead only to a small overlap in TWB activities worldwide.

The proposed concentration would give raise to a vertical link since ArcelorMittal is active in the upstream market of flat steel products used in TWB production. As Noble European Holdings already receives almost all of its supplies from ArcelorMittal, the Commission’s investigation confirmed that the merger would not lead to any significant change in the EEA market structure and the merged entity would continue to face several competitors in the flat carbon steel markets. The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed concentration would not raise competition concerns.

More information on the case will be available at:

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