Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Simple System by Hoffmann and Kaiser+Kraft
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Simple System GmbH & Co. KG by Hoffmann SE and Kaiser+Kraft Europa GmbH, all of Germany. Simple System runs an internet platform for the business-to-business distribution of so called “C-items”, which are low-priced items used as secondary inputs for end products. Hoffmann manufactures and commercialises standard tools and complementary products and services, while Kaiser+Kraft is a business-to-business mail order specialist for business equipment. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because the activities and turnover of Simple System are limited in the European Economic Area. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8850.
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into measures in favour of Ryanair at Montpellier airport in France
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether marketing agreements concluded between the Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows and Ryanair at the airport of Montpellier in France are in line with EU State aid rules.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Competition in air transport is of fundamental importance for consumers, growth and jobs. We will investigate whether regional and local authorities in France granted an undue economic advantage to Ryanair over its competitors, potentially harming other European airlines and having spill-over effects to other European regions “. More information here
€7.5 million of EU financing for micro-entrepreneurs in Greece under Juncker Plan
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Cooperative Bank of Thessaly (CBT) have signed a microfinance guarantee agreement in Greeceunder the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe. This agreement allows CBT to provide loans to 500 micro-entrepreneurs – very small companies – over the next 5 years in the Thessaly region and across Greece. Micro-entrepreneurs will benefit from loans at a reduced interest rate with lower collateral requirements under the EU supported programme. CBT will primarily target start-ups, companies that have suffered during the financial crises and agro-industry businesses. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said:“Today’s announcement shows again that the European Commission is fully committed to supporting SMEs and start-ups that bring dynamism and job creation in local economies. The EUR 7.5 million guarantee agreement under the Juncker Plan with the Cooperative Bank of Thessaly will make loans more easily accessible to very small businesses in Greece. This builds on other similar agreements that we have started to roll out in Greece and I’m convinced that we will continue to see positive results.” Full press release is found here. For all the latest EFSI results see the Investment Plan website
Following a call from France, the European Commission is today mobilising €9.8 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help former workers of Air France, the French airline company, find new jobs.
Most of the redundancies occurred in the regions of Ile-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA).
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen commented: “Air transport, along with other sectors in Europe, is going through major structural changes as a consequence of changing global trade patterns. Our European Globalisation Adjustment Fund supports workers who experience hardship in this difficult transition, to adapt their skills and find new jobs This is a concrete expression of European solidarity.” More information available here
EU-Palestine partnership: a new Investment Plan to strengthen economy and boost job creation
The EU launched today the EU External Investment Plan (EIP) in Palestine to foster economic development and boost private investment. A sustainable economy in the West Bank and Gaza is a key factor to grant stability and create perspectives for the Palestinian population. Challenges such as restrictions to movements of goods and people, a growing working age population, high unemployment, political instability and an increasing demand for energy put a brake on the business environment and discourage foreign investors. The European Union, which is already the largest supporter of Palestinians, has adopted development programmes under the EIP, worth €23.5 million, to enhance economic growth and create a more business-friendly environment. The available budget will be used to ensure efficient energy consumption as well as affordable and reliable energy production in Palestine. It will also support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with advisory services and by reimbursing a share of the total costs of services. Finally, EU funding will contribute to broadening the range of financial services available for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, particularly in Gaza. The package was announced today at an EIP launch event in Ramallah. More information will be available here.
Mergers: Commission approves Tronox’s acquisition of Cristal, subject to conditions
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Cristal by Tronox, both major suppliers of titanium dioxide pigment. The decision is conditional on the divestment by Tronox of its global business in titanium dioxide pigment for paper laminate comprising the required technology and other intangibles to an experienced manufacturer with chloride-based production technology. On the basis of its in-depth investigation, the Commission was concerned that the transaction, as originally notified, would have significantly reduced competition on the European market for chloride-based titanium dioxide pigment for use in paper laminate. The Commission found that the commitments offered by Tronox fully address its concerns as they ensure that the same number of suppliers will remain active on the market of chloride-based titanium dioxide pigment for paper laminate, and that customers continue to enjoy the same level of choice. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Titanium dioxide pigment is an essential ingredient in many consumer products, including paper laminate used in furniture and interiors. Tronox and Cristal are two of the four major players in this market but we can approve their merger because the companies offered a suitable remedy that fully addresses our competition concerns. This decision will ensure that these products can continue to be offered at competitive prices and without reducing the number of suppliers available for consumers.” The full press release is available online here
Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of ANCB by JIC and TAHL
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Australia Nature’s Care Biotech Co., Ltd. (“ANCB”) of Australia by China Jianyin Investment Limited (“JIC”) of China and Tamar Alliance Health Limited (“TAHL”) of the Cayman Islands. ANCB is active in manufacturing, marketing, selling, and distributing vitamins and other healthcare products across Australia, China and Taiwan. JIC is an integrated investment group focused on equity investments. TAHL is an investment vehicle dedicated to investing in consumer and healthcare sectors. It is owned by DCH of Hong Kong and CPL of Hong Kong which is a wholly owned subsidiary of CITIC Ltd. of China. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given that ANCB has no, or negligible, actual or foreseen activities within the European Economic Area. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8916.
Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of Generali Belgium by Athora Holding
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control over Generali Belgium S.A. of Belgium by Athora Holding Ltd. of Bermuda, controlled by Apollo Management L.P. (“Apollo”) of the US. Generali Belgium is a provider of life and non-life insurance. Athora is active in insurance and reinsurance in Germany and the UK. Apollo is a global investment fund that has holdings in businesses in a variety of sectors. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns given the minor horizontal and vertical overlaps between the companies’ activities. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8929.