Brussels, 20 November 2012
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of German kitchen manufacturer Alno by Whirlpool
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the German kitchen manufacturer Alno AG by the US household appliances company Whirlpool Corporation. The Commission's investigation showed that there were enough alternative suppliers with significant market shares, both in the supply of domestic appliances and in the manufacture and marketing of kitchen furniture. The proposed transaction, therefore, does not raise competition concerns.
The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed acquisition in the markets for the supply of domestic appliances and for the manufacture and marketing of kitchen furniture. The investigation showed that there are not overlaps between the parties' activities. The transaction would only give rise to a vertical relationship in Germany, where ALNO generates most of its turnover. Indeed, ALNO markets the furniture it produces together with built-in household appliances, as a package. Whirlpool produces such appliances.
The Commission's investigation indicated that the parties' market shares in the downstream and upstream markets are moderate and there exist a number of alternative suppliers with significant market shares at both levels. Thus, customers could easily switch their purchases of kitchen appliance to one of Whirlpool’s competitors as an alternative source of supply. Similarly, the market investigation confirmed the existence of a sufficient alternative customer base for Whirlpool's competitors. The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 12 October 2012.
Companies and products
Whirlpool is headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Whirlpool is the ultimate parent company of the Whirlpool Group. Whirlpool manufactures and markets, on a global basis, a full line of household appliances and related products, such as laundry appliances, refrigerators, cooking appliances, and dishwashers.
ALNO is a public listed German company headquartered in Pfullendorf, Germany. ALNO is the ultimate parent company of the ALNO group. ALNO manufactures kitchen furniture and markets it with built-in domestic appliances (as part of a complete package comprising both kitchen furniture and built-in appliances).
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 notified 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).
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