European Commission - Press release
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of electrical components and connectors manufacturer Thomas & Betts by ABB
Brussels, 11 May 2012 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the electrical components and connectors manufacturer Thomas & Betts Corporation of the US by ABB Ltd of Switzerland. ABB is active in the power and automation technology sector. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the overlaps between the parties' activities are limited and that the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors. Customers will therefore still have a number of alternative suppliers in the markets concerned.
The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed acquisition in various markets for low, medium and high voltage electrical products. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the two companies are active at the same points along the value chain in the supply of hardwired surge protective devices and lightning protection systems. Moreover medium voltage vacuum interrupters supplied by both companies are used in the production of medium voltage circuit breakers, where ABB is active.
However, the Commission found that the merged entity's market position will be limited and that it will continue to face a number of significant competitors active at the level of the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as at national level. Furthermore, the Parties' activities are largely complementary as Thomas & Betts' activities focus on North America and the UK where ABB has only a limited presence.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 30 March 2012.
Companies and products
ABB is active globally in the power and automation technology sector and has as its core business power products, power systems, discrete automation and motion, process automation, and low voltage products.
Thomas & Betts is active in designing and manufacturing components used to manage the connection, distribution, transmission and reliability of electrical products in industrial, construction and utility applications.
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: