17 June 2011

European Commission clears acquisition of Columbian Chemicals by Birla Group

On 15 June 2011 the European Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of Columbian Chemicals by the Aditya Birla Group at the end of a Phase I investigation. Columbian and Birla are two of the four largest worldwide producers of carbon black, a chemical product used primarily in the manufacture of tyres, with smaller volumes destined to the production of printing inks and plastics.  The Commission examined the impact of the transaction on the European Economic Area and concluded that “although the merger would create one of the three largest companies in the sector, European customers would continue to enjoy healthy competition.”  In particular, the Commission found that continued competition would remain from different producers located within the EEA as well as from direct imports from Russian and Ukrainian manufacturers. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.  RBB advised the parties on this transaction, working together with a legal team from Shearman and Sterling.

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