The Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control by Yara International ASA of Norway and US-based Praxair Inc. of Yara's existing industrial gases business in Scandinavia. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it and has therefore approved the concentration.

Yara is a chemical company based in Oslo, primarily focused on the production and marketing of fertilisers and nitrogen-based chemicals. It also produces and distributes industrial gases and nitrogen chemicals that are mostly by-products of its fertiliser business. Praxair is an industrial gases company, with large businesses in North and South America and Europe.

The Commission's examination of the proposed transaction showed that in the market for the supply of industrial gases, such as helium, argon, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and specialty gases, in the EEA, no anti-competitive impact would arise. The Commission specifically considered the impact of the transaction on the upstream and downstream markets for all these product markets and concluded that competition would not be impeded on any of these markets. The overlaps between the parties' activities are limited as the industrial gas business contributed to the joint venture is active only in Scandinavia, where Praxair has a very limited presence. The proposed joint venture is not likely to lead to anti-competitive co-operative effects outside Scandinavia. [28 November 2007]