Brussels, 25 October 2010
Mergers: Commission clears planned acquisition of SSL International by Reckitt Benckiser, subject to conditions
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of SSL International by Reckitt Benckiser, both British pharmaceutical companies. The decision is conditional upon Reckitt Benckiser's commitments to divest SSL's brands for mouth pain relief products in the UK and Ireland, where the merged entity would have had a very strong market position. In the light of the commitments, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.
Reckitt Benckiser manufactures and sells household products, health and personal care products, food and pharmaceutical products, including over the counter pharmaceutical products ("OTC"). SSL is primarily active in the personal care sector with Durex products and Scholl foot care and footwear. It also manufactures and sells OTC pharmaceutical products.
The Commission investigated a number of OTC pharmaceutical products in which both parties are active in the UK and Ireland, namely analgesics, mouth pain relief products, throat preparations, upper gastrointestinal treatments and antipruritics. The Commission also examined the parties' activities in manufacturing OTC pharmaceuticals for third parties.
The Commission found that the proposed transaction, as initially notified, would have raised competition concerns with regard to products for the treatment of mouth ulcers and other mouth infections or pains in adults and infants in the UK as well as the same mouth pain relief products for adults in Ireland. This is because of the high combined market shares of the parties, the strength of their brands on these markets and the fact that Reckitt Benckiser's and SSL's products are close competitors.
To address the Commission's concerns, Reckitt Benckiser offered to divest SSL's brands for adult and infant mouth pain relief products in the UK and SSL's brand for adult mouth pain relief products in Ireland.
In view of these commitments, and following a market test, the Commission concluded that the transaction would no longer raise competition concerns.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 6 September 2010. More information on the case will be available at: