On 1 October 2010, the French Competition Authority (the 'Authority') opened an in-depth investigation into the acquisition of Eurochem by Univar, following an initial investigation into the acquisition's impact on the French market.
On 16 July 2010, the European Commission ('Commission') partially approved the proposed acquisition and referred the part of the acquisition relating to Eurochem's activities in France to the Authority at its request.
Univar and Eurochem are both active in the sector of distribution of commodities and specialities chemicals.
The Commission's investigation found that the horizontal overlaps would not give rise to competition concerns in Belgium and the Netherlands, but, due to a different competitive landscape in France, competition could be restricted there. The Commission stated that, in the West of France particularly, competitors would not put sufficient constraints on the merged entity and the merger could lead to a reduction in the number of national players in the sector.
This in-depth investigation was to be carried out in sixty-five working days with the possibility of lengthening this timeframe if necessary.
However, since the launch of the investigation, notification of the proposed acquisition has been withdrawn by Univar
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