The Commission has opened a detailed investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of M-real Zanders' Reflex mill located in Düren, Germany by Arjowiggins of France. Both companies produce carbonless paper and other speciality premium fine paper. The Commission's initial market investigation has indicated that the proposed merger would raise serious doubts with regard to the carbonless paper market. A decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days (until 28 April 2008) to take a final decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or a significant part of it.

Arjowiggins is one of the world's largest manufacturers of graphic paper, communication paper, including carbonless paper, and security and technology paper. M-real Zanders' Reflex mill is a major German plant producing carbonless paper and specialty paper, including premium fine paper.

After a preliminary review, the Commission has identified serious doubts whether the proposed acquisition might lead to a significant impediment of effective competition within the EEA, in particular with regard to carbonless paper.

Carbonless paper or self-copying paper is chemically treated paper used to make duplicate copies without a carbon layer, e.g. for invoicing forms or transport documents (freight orders). The proposed acquisition raises competition concerns as, in a post-merger scenario, Arjowiggins' market share would account for more than half of the European market of carbonless paper, the remaining competitors being significantly smaller. The Commission is concerned that Arjowiggins might be able to impose less favourable prices or supply conditions on its customers as there could be insufficient alternative suppliers competing.

The Commission's in-depth investigation will assess whether the transaction would risk increasing the price of carbonless paper and, as a consequence, harming consumers. [7 December 2007]