The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Ciba of Switzerland by BASF SE of Germany, both active in the chemicals industry. The Commission's investigation revealed that the proposed transaction would not significantly modify the structure of the majority of the relevant markets, as a number of credible and more significant competitors would continue to exercise a competitive constraint on the merged entity. However, the Commission found that the proposed transaction would raise competition concerns in a number of relevant specialised markets, in which one or both parties held significant market shares even before the transaction and the proposed takeover would lead to further strengthening of these positions.
To remedy competition concerns the Commission had in relation to a number of specialty chemical products, used inter alia in the paper, dyestuffs, plastics and skin care sectors, BASF offered undertakings to divest activities in the sectors in question, including production assets, know-how, supply contracts, customer lists, inventories and agreed to conclude a contract that would allow third party access to certain technology. In the light of these commitments, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.