Under the EU Merger Regulation, the European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the thermoplastic engineering business of the German company Lanxess by INEOS, a UK based group involved in intermediate and speciality chemicals.
The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
Ineos is a UK based company active worldwide in the production, distribution, sales and marketing of intermediate and speciality chemicals, petrochemicals and oil products. Lanxess is headquartered in Germany and has operations in 18 countries around the world. In Europe, The Business produces ABS, an important grade of engineering thermoplastic resin.The concentration consists of the acquisition by INEOS of Lanxess' worldwide engineering thermoplastic resins business.
INEOS does not produce ABS which is produced by The Business. It does, however, produce two other thermoplastic resins, polypropylene and PVC. Therefore, the parties' activities overlap only on a wider market including different grades or types of thermoplastic resins. The parties' combined share in terms of both production capacity and sales volumes will not exceed 15% either on the larger segment, including ABS and modified polypropylene resins, or on the widest possible market, including ABS, high impact general purpose polystyrene resins, modified polypropylene resins, PVC resins and polycarbonate resins at both EEA and world-wide levels. Ineos is active on the vertically related markets of acrylonitrile (ACN), butadiene and styrene, which are upstream of engineering thermoplastic resins. The Commission's examination showed that there are a number of competitors also active on each of these markets, and a significant spare capacity at both world-wide and EEA levels. In addition, the parties will not have a significant market share in any of the possible downstream markets for engineering thermoplastic resins and engineering thermoplastic resins account only for a limited portion of the sales of styrene. Therefore, access to the Business is not essential for any upstream suppliers.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed operation does not raise horizontal or vertical competition concerns in the relevant markets.