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Brussels, 15 March 2010

Mergers: Commission refers review of acquisition of Shell's Greek fuel and bitumen business by Motor Oil to Greek competition authority

Acting under the EU Merger Regulation, the European Commission has referred to the Greek Competition Authority the examination of the proposed acquisition of Shell's activities in the Greek oil sector by Motor Oil of Greece. The referred transaction also comprises the proposed creation of a joint venture with Shell Overseas Holdings Limited (SOHL) of the UK for the supply of aviation fuel at Greek airports. The Commission concluded that the proposed concentration would only affect the Greek markets for fuels and bitumen and that therefore the Greek competition authority, which requested the referral, would be best placed to examine it.

On 27 January, the European Commission received a notification whereby Motor Oil would acquire sole control over Greek-based Shell Gas Commercial and Industrial and of Shell Hellas from the Royal Dutch Shell Group. Simultaneously, Motor Oil and Shell Overseas Holdings Limited (SOHL, UK), a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, would create a joint venture to be active in the supply of aviation fuel at Greek airports.

On 18 February 2010 the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) asked that the case be referred to Greece, pointing out that the planned operation would threaten to significantly affect competition because it would result in high market shares in various retail markets for fuels in Greece as well as in various non retail markets for fuels and bitumen. The HCC argued that various affected markets were local in nature and it was better placed to appreciate the competitive impact of the operations.

The Commission found that the HCC's request was in line with Article 9 of the Merger Regulation and that Greece would indeed be best placed to assess the impact of the proposed transaction on the Greek markets. Consequently, it referred the case to Greece to be assessed under the Greek merger control law.

Further information relating to this case will be available at:

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