Commission launches competition probe into INEOS/Solvay PVC merger

05 November 2013 17:44 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation into a proposed multi-billion-euro merger of Europe's two largest producers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Switzerland-based INEOS and Belgium-based Solvay, the Commission's competition watchdog said on Tuesday.

The Commission must ensure that proper competition on the markets of suspension PVC and sodium hypochlorite would prevail even after the removal of a major competitor from the market caused by the merger, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

The competition concerns of the Commission have not been alleviated despite an offer from INEOS and Solvay to sell one PVC production plant prior to the deal.

A 21 March deadline has been set for an EU competition authority decision on the merger.

INEOS and Solvay submitted their proposed 50:50 joint venture for competition clearance by the Commission back in September.

The merged business would have combined net annual sales of €4.3bn ($5.8bn).

Solvay would put its Solvin vinyls joint venture into the new venture, and also its chlor-chemicals business. INEOS’s Kerling would put its chlor-vinyls operations into the new venture.

RusVinyl, Solvay’s chlor-vinyls joint venture with Sibur, would not be included in the deal.

($1 = €0.74)

By Will Conroy