Brussels, 26 October 2010
Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of a stake by Dutch LWM potatoes group in Austrian frozen food producer Frisch & Frost
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of a controlling stake in Frisch & Frost (F&F), a producer of frozen and chilled products in Austria, by Dutch company Lamb Weston / Meijer. Currently, the company is solely owned by Austrian company RWA International Holding. 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.
F&F produces and sells frozen and chilled products, notably deep-frozen potato and dough products. It supplies the food service sector, fast food chains and the retail sector in Austria and has a limited presence in some Member States in Central and South-Eastern Europe. The company is presently solely owned by RWA International Holding (RWI), a holding company controlled by the BayWa/RWA Group. BayWa/RWA is an international trading and services organisation that sells agricultural products and commodities as well as consumer products mainly in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
Lamb Weston / Meijer (LWM) produces and sells deep-frozen potato products and dehydrated potato products (potato flakes) and sells deep-frozen appetizers. LWM serves customers in the food service sector, fast food chains and the retail sector and is mainly active in The Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
Following the transaction, LWM and RWI will hold joint control in F&F.
The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed merger in the market for deep-frozen potato products, where LWM and F&F have overlapping activities in the supply of the retail sector and the food service sector.
It found deep-frozen potato products exist in a number of varieties, which can be divided broadly into French fries and other products of different shapes and coatings which include wedges, croquettes, hash browns, cubes, potato slices and roast potatoes.
The Commission's market investigation indicated that post-merger the market for the supply of deep-frozen potatoes would remain competitive as the overlaps between the parties’ activities are limited (since the activities of LWM and F&F are mainly focused in different geographic areas) and due to the presence of a number of alternative, well-established suppliers in the EEA.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on September 21.2010. More information on the case will be available at: