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European Commission - Press release

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control of Maxam by Advent and a group of individuals

Brussels, 7 February 2012 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control of the Spanish company MaxamCorp Holding S.L. by US based Advent International Corporation and approximately 110 individuals including Maxam's current managers, technical experts, other employees and co-investors. The Commission examined the vertical links created by the proposed transaction and concluded that the merged entity would continue to face sufficient competition.

The proposed transaction gives rise to a vertical relationship between Advent's production of the oxo-alcohol 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) and Maxam's downstream production of 2-ethyhexyl nitrate (2-EHN), a cetane number improver for diesel fuel. The Commission found that 2-EH producers would continue to have a range of alternative customers inside and outside the European Economic Area (EEA)1 and that the merger would not result in any substantial change in the supply relationship between Advent and Maxam. Moreover, the Commission concluded it was unlikely that the transaction would lead to concerns relating to the supply of 2-EH to 2-EHN producers because of the existence of alternative suppliers with sufficient production capacity, the increasing trend of imports, a sufficient degree of buyer power from 2-EHN customers and a lack of incentives for the merged entity to engage in an input foreclosure strategy.

In relation to the vertical relationships between Advent's upstream activities in the market for tungsten metal powder, boron amorphous and butyl acetate and Maxam's downstream activities with regard to initiating systems for military applications and illuminating and smoke military projectiles, the Commission found there was no risk of foreclosure due to the parties' moderate market shares, the presence of strong competitors at each level of the supply chain and the relatively small volumes of input required to manufacture the downstream products.

The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The proposed transaction was notified to the Commission on 22 December 2011.


Advent is a global financial services company that is present in more than 70 countries, with investments in a range of markets including pharmaceuticals, software, drilling, and insurance. Advent manages a number of investment funds. It also controls H.C. Starck GmbH which is active mainly in refractory metals and advanced ceramics and OXEA S.a.r.l. which primarily produces chemicals.

Maxam is the head of a diversified group of companies which develops, manufactures and commercialises a wide range of products including packaged and bulk explosives, ammunition and initiating systems and chemical products. Maxam is also active through its joint venture Cetpro Ltd. in the supply of cetane number improvers for diesel fuel.

Merger control rules and procedures

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).

A non-confidential version of today's decision will be available at:

Contacts :

Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)

Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)

1 :

The EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

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