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Brussels, 3 August 2010

Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of Sperian by Honeywell

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Sperian, a French producer of personal protective equipment, by the US company Honeywell. 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.

Honeywell is a US-based diversified technology company active in a number of areas, including the manufacture and supply of protective equipment solutions. Personal protective equipment ("PPE") is designed to protect users from injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with radiological, chemical, physical, mechanical, electrical or other hazards and is used by workers in a number of industries.

Sperian is a global producer of PPE which focuses on head protection and body protection.

The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed merger in the area of PPE, in particular in the markets for fall protection (equipment designed to provide protection against falls from a height), hand protection (mainly protective and safety gloves), respiratory protection (masks and other equipment designed to provide protection from the atmosphere, against solid and liquid aerosols or gases and from viral and microbial infections), head, eye and face protection (helmets, visors, face shields) and hearing protection (mainly muffs and plugs, either disposable or reusable) where the parties have the most overlapping activities in Europe.

As Honeywell's and Sperian's activities are mainly focused in different geographic areas and product segments, the overlaps between the Parties’ activities as regards PPE devices are limited. Furthermore, the Commission's investigation revealed that the merged entity would face in all of the above mentioned categories of PPE a number of significant competitors, while customers would continue to be able to source from a number of alternative suppliers.

In addition to the PPE markets, both Honeywell and Sperian are also active in portable gas detector devices, used to monitor the concentration of toxic or flammable gases in order to warn about possible hazards of intoxication, suffocation or explosion in a variety of situations. Given Sperian's limited activities in that field and the presence of a large number of alternative suppliers in the EEA, the market investigation indicated that the competitive landscape would remain significantly unchanged after the proposed merger. Honeywell is also active in the upstream market for the production of gas sensors, some of which are supplied to other gas detection manufacturers. However, given the low value of Sperian's purchases of gas sensors and the low market share of Sperian's downstream business in the gas detection devices, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not give rise to competition concerns.

The transaction was notified to the Commission on June 30 2010. More information on the case will be available at:

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