The Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Finnish mineral fertiliser producer Kemira GrowHow by Yara of Norway, also a fertiliser company, subject to commitments. In view of the remedies proposed by the parties, the Commission concluded that the operation would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Yara International ASA is active in the manufacture of mineral fertilisers as well as the production and supply of certain nitrogen based chemicals. Until 2004 Yara belonged to Norsk Hydro.

Kemira GrowHow is also active in the production and sale of mineral fertilisers as well as chemical products associated with fertiliser manufacturing.

The Commission's examination of the proposed deal focused on the EEA markets for mineral field and water soluble fertilisers and the distribution of these products in national markets. The decision also assessed the markets for chemical by-products.

The Commission's investigation identified serious competition concerns relating to the fertiliser distribution markets in Denmark and Latvia, the markets for liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) in the UK, the markets for weak nitric acid, AN Solution and aqueous ammonia in North Western Europe and in the Nordic countries and the market for concentrated nitric acid in Western Europe.

The commitments offered by the acquirer Yara removed the Commission's concerns for these markets as they would lead to a reduced market presence and the creation of alternative sources of supply for customers. The commitments included pulling out of distribution joint ventures for mineral fertilisers, the sale of a liquefaction unit for CO2 in the UK, and the sale of certain production facilities in Kemira GrowHow's plant in Tertre, Belgium and Yara's plant in Köping, Sweden, as well as access to the necessary process chemicals to maintain and expand the output of the divested facilities. [21 September 07]