The Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Imperial Chemical Industries ("ICI") of the UK by Akzo Nobel of The Netherlands, subject to commitments to divest activities in the UK, Ireland and Belgium as well as a shareholding in the adhesives manufacturer Purbond AG. 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.

Akzo Nobel N.V. is active in the fields of healthcare products, coatings, adhesives and chemicals.

ICI is active in the production and sale of coatings and adhesives as well as specialty starches, polymers and electronic materials.

During its investigation, the Commission identified serious competition concerns relating to the markets for decorative coatings in the UK, Ireland and Belgium and on the EEA market for industrial adhesives for engineered wood.

To alleviate the Commission's concerns, Akzo Nobel offered to sell essentially all of its decorative coatings activities in the UK and Ireland, including the production facilities and distribution network. In Belgium, Akzo Nobel made the commitment to sell or license certain decorative coating brands and, regarding adhesives for engineered wood, to sell ICI's participation in Purbond AG. The commitments offered by Akzo remove the identified overlaps or market share additions for decorative coatings and industrial adhesives and allow alternative sources of supply for customers to be established. The Commission therefore concluded that the commitments are appropriate to remedy its concerns. [14 December 2007]