In December 2014 the Commission for Protection of Competition issued two conditional merger clearances concerning two international transactions: one between Holcim and Lafarge, and the other between Alitalia and Etihad Airways.

The Holcim and Lafarge transaction concerned the acquisition of control over Lafarge, a French construction company active in cement, concrete and aggregates, by Holcim, one of the world's leading suppliers of cement and aggregates. The concentration resulted in a significant overlap between the parties' activities in Serbia, as both companies had Serbian production facilities and significant market shares in the Serbian cement market. Holcim's estimated market share was between 30% and 40%, while Lafarge's market share was between 40% and 50%. The remainder of the market was covered by a third local competitor (Titan) and imports. Holcim proactively offered certain divestment measures to the commission. After conducting an investigation, the commission found it necessary for Holcim to divest its entire business in Serbia, carried out via four companies.

The transaction between Alitalia and Etihad Airways involved the acquisition of joint control over a newly founded company that would control Alitalia's aviation business. The companies jointly filed the merger notification and provided the commission with a range of structural measures to be complied with in order to implement the transaction. New Alitalia and Air Serbia – both to be under the ultimate control of Etihad Airways following the transaction – were the only airlines offering direct flights from Belgrade to Rome. The commission thus found that the transaction could lead to higher prices and a decrease in quality. The commitments of the transaction include the release of up to two daily slot pairs at Rome and Belgrade airports for one or more new carriers and the possibility for a new carrier to acquire grandfathering rights after a certain period. The companies also committed to several measures in order to make the transaction more likely.

For further information on this topic please contact Srdjana Petronijevic at Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri in cooperation with Schoenherr by telephone (+381 11 320 26 00) or email (s.petronijevic@schoenherr.rs). The Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.rs.

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