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Brussels, 27 March 2013
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of chemical company Petrochem Carless Holdings by rival Haltermann
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Petrochem Carless Holdings Limited of the UK by Haltermann Holding GmbH of Germany, a wholly owned subsidiary of HIG Europe Capital Partners. The parties are active in the chemicals sector. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the proposed operation would not raise competition concerns as it would not significantly alter the structure of the relevant markets.
The Commission examined in particular the competitive effects of the proposed transaction in the markets for the production and supply of printing ink distillates and performance fuels and its sub-segments (automotive reference fuels, racing-fuels and first-fill fuels). The Commission found that the transaction would not raise competition concerns in any of the relevant markets because of the parties' moderate combined market shares, the ability of customers to switch to other suppliers and the presence of a sufficient number of strong competitors that will continue to exert competitive constraint on the merged entity.
As a result, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area1 (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
The transaction was initially notified to the Commission in November 2012. After the withdrawal of the notification in December 2012, the transaction was re-notified on 19 February 2013.
Background on Companies and products
Haltermann Holding GmbH is a subsidiary of HIG Europe Capital Partners active in the production and supply of hydrocarbon-based chemicals. PCHL is the parent company of Petrochem Carless Limited, active in the production and supply of refined fuels, petrochemicals, automotive fluids and specialty chemicals.
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).