Brussels, 18 October 2013
Mergers: Commission accepts to assess acquisition of Holcim's Spanish cement operations by rival Cemex at Spain's request
The European Commission has accepted a request from Spain to assess under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Holcim's cement operations in Spain by rival Cemex. The Commission concluded that the transaction threatens to affect competition within Spain and that the Commission is the best placed authority to assess the potential cross-border effects of the transaction. The Commission will now ask Cemex to notify the project.
Cemex' proposed acquisition of Holcim's operations in Spain and the Czech Republic does not meet the turnover thresholds set by the EU Merger Regulation for mergers that must be notified to the European Commission because they have an EU dimension. It was therefore notified separately for regulatory clearance in Spain and the Czech Republic.
Spain submitted a referral request pursuant to Article 22(1) of the EU Merger Regulation. This provision allows Member States to request the Commission to examine a concentration that does not have an EU dimension but affects trade within the EU's internal market and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the Member States making the request.
On the basis of the elements submitted by Spain, the Commission considers that the transaction threatens to impact competition in the Spanish cement, concrete and aggregates markets since Cemex would acquire a stronger position in these markets in Spain. The Commission also concludes that it is the best placed authority to deal with the potential cross-border effects of the transaction. As the Czech Republic did not join the request submitted by Spain, it will continue to examine Cemex' acquisition of Holcim's assets in the Czech Republic.
Cemex, headquartered in Mexico, is a global building materials company. It produces, distributes and sells cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and related building materials.
The Swiss company Holcim is a global supplier of cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete, asphalt and cementitious materials as well as related services.
In another linked transaction, Holcim proposes to acquire a number of Cemex assets in Germany, France and the Netherlands. Holcim notified the proposed acquisition to the Commission on 3 September 2013, because the transaction met the turnover thresholds of the EU Merger Regulation. The deadline for the Commission's initial decision in this case is currently 22 October 2013, after an extension by 10 working days following a request for a 'downward' referral under Article 9(2) of the EU Merger Regulation.
According to Cemex and Holcim, the interlinked transactions, which were announced on 28 August 2013, are intended to improve the two groups' strategic footprint in Europe.