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EU approves acquisition of Tarmac of Germany

11 June 2010, 22:12 CET

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation part of the proposed acquisition of the aggregate activities of Tarmac, part of the UK-based Anglo American group, by Eurovia, part of the French Vinci group.

The Commission found that Eurovia's acquisition of the German and Polish activities of Tarmac would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA). At the same time, the Commission has referred the part of proposed acquisition relating to Tarmac's activities in France and the Czech Republic to the French and Czech Competition Authorities respectively, at their request. After a preliminary investigation, the Commission found this part of the proposed transaction would threaten to significantly affect competition in the aggregates, asphalt mix and civil engineering / road works markets in France and in the Czech Republic. Those aspects will now be examined by the French and the Czech Competition Authorities under national law.

On 12 February 2010, Eurovia, Anglo American and Tarmac concluded an agreement following which Eurovia would acquire Tarmac's aggregate activities in Germany, Poland, France and the Czech Republic. The markets concerned by the transaction, either horizontally or vertically, are aggregates, asphalt mix and civil engineering, where Eurovia is already active.

Eurovia is a subsidiary of the Vinci group, active in road works and maintenance, urban development, rail infrastructure development, special road related services and production of materials, including aggregates and asphalt. Tarmac's subsidiaries concerned by the transaction are active in the production and sale of aggregates through quarries and pits.

With regard to markets in Poland and Germany the proposed transaction will not bring about any sizeable overlap of activities. Consequently, the Commission concluded that it will not give rise to competition concerns and granted regulatory clearance.

France and the Czech Republic asked the Commission to refer the parts of the concentration concerning the French and the Czech markets to their competition authorities, claiming that the transaction threatens to significantly affect competition in their respective territories.

The Commission’s preliminary market investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would lead to significant overlaps in the aggregates market in France and the Czech Republic. A majority of stakeholders raised concerns that the transaction could negatively affect competition within the territory in the Czech Republic and in France. Those concerns were not only focused on the horizontal overlap in the markets for aggregates but also at the vertical level, due to the threat that the merged entity would be able to exercise its market power on the downstream markets of asphalt mix and civil engineering (including road works).The French and the Czech Competition Authorities are in the Commission's view the best placed to investigate the effect of the transaction on their respective national markets. The Commission has therefore referred the assessment of the French's and the Czech's parts of the transaction to the French and Czech competition authorities.

The transaction was notified to the Commission on 19 April 2010.

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