The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed joint venture between the UK company INEOS Silicas Limited (IS), belonging to the INEOS Group and the US company PQ Corporation (PQ), belonging to the Carlyle Group. Both companies produce speciality chemicals. The Commission concluded that the concentration would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

IS and PQ are manufacturers of inorganic speciality chemicals, including silicates and silicas, used principally in the production of detergents, in the production of pulp/paper and as a feedstock for derivative chemical products for a wide range of industrial and beverage applications.

The parties´ activities overlap mainly in the market for sodium silicate and its derivatives, such as beer gel and polyethylene catalyst ingredients. The investigation carried out by the Commission found that the combined market shares after the transaction would be relatively modest and that strong competitors would remain in the markets concerned. Therefore the Commission concluded that the joint venture would not create any adverse impacts on competition. [20 December 2007]