European Commission to look into Birla Carbon's Columbian Chem buy

Vidya Ram London | Updated on April 11, 2011

The European Commission will look into Birla Carbon's takeover of Atlanta-based Columbian Chemicals, following four requests from member-States.

Germany, Britain, France and Spain had all requested the European Competition Commission to examine the $875-million acquisition of the US-based firm, which leapfrogged Birla Carbon from fourth position in the carbon black market globally to one of the lead positions.

The Commission has, therefore, asked Birla Carbon to notify its proposed acquisition of Columbian Chemicals for regulatory approval in the EU, a spokesperson for the Competition Commission told Business Line in an e-mail.

Birla Carbon, the subsidiary of the Aditya Birla Group, acquired the Atlanta-based firm in January from One Equity Partners, the merchant-banking arm of J.P. Morgan Chase.

The Competition Commission's investigations into mergers and acquisitions follow a two-step process. Once the regulator has determined it has jurisdiction, the parties must official notify the EC, which conducts an initial appraisal, including request for information, interviews, and inspections. A decision must be taken within 25 days after receiving notification. Should the EC conclude that the deal raises serious doubts, the investigation moves into phase 2, where more detailed investigations are carried out. The commission has 90 days to take a decision at that stage.

“This is a normal process of anti-trust examination by the EU,” said Dr Santrupt Misra, CEO, Carbon Black Business, noting that the firm had already received approval from Brazil, Korea, the US, and Canada. “We will make our submission to the EU in this regard.”

Published on April 11, 2011

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