On 6 September 2013, Ineos and Solvay notified the European Commission of the creation of a joint venture combining the European chlor-vinyls businesses of Ineos in Switzerland and Solvay in Belgium under the EU merger regulation.
Ineos is active in the manufacture of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products, while Solvay is activein the research, development, production, marketing and sale of chemicals and plastics.
The joint venture will be jointly controlled by its two mother companies. According to the agreement concluded by the parties, the joint venture will pass to the sole control of Ineos within six years of its creation. The product at stake, S-PVC, is a type of resin widely used for the manufacture of pipes, moulded fittings, and window and door frames, and it is also widely used for water treatment, disinfection and laundry bleaching.
During the first stage of its investigation, the European Commission concluded that the planned merger would combine the two leading suppliers of S-PVC in the European economic area and in North-West Europe, and of bleach in the Benelux.
The Commission fears that the remaining competitors in both markets may not be able to exert efficient competitive strong constraints on the joint venture.
Ineos and Solvay had offered a commitment during the first stage of the investigation to removing the concerns about a potential risk for competition, but they were considered by the Commission to be insufficient.
From the opening of the in-depth investigation, the Commission has 90 working days (until 21 March 2014) to adopt its final decision on this notified merger.