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EC approves joint venture between TOTAL and ERG

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The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed merger of Total Italia and Erg Petroli (EGP), both of Italy, into a new joint venture, active in the refined oil sector.

After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

TOTAL is engaged in all aspects of the petroleum industry including refining and marketing. It operates in Italy through its subsidiary Total Italia. ERG Group is active, inter alia, in the marketing of petroleum products, principally in Italy, where its subsidiary EGP operates a retail and wholesale network. The joint venture, jointly controlled by the parties, will combine the refining and marketing activities of TOTAL and ERG in Italy.

The parties' activities overlap in several upstream and downstream markets for refined oil products, namely, (i) non-retail sales of fuels, (ii) retail sales of motor fuels, (iii) sales of LPG in bulk and bottles and (iv) sales of bitumen.

The Commission's investigation found that the horizontal overlaps between the parties' activities would not give rise to competition concerns in any of the affected markets, since the parties would continue to face several competitors controlling refineries, storage facilities and a developed network of retail stations in Italy.

The transaction was notified to the Commission on 14 April 2010.

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