EU Approves Tronox-Cristal Merger
The EU Commission has approved Tronox’s proposed acquisition of competitor Cristal, subject to the US titanium dioxide producer selling its business for the pigment used in paper laminate.
The Commission had issued a statement of objections in March to the $2.4 billion acquisition of the Saudi Arabian company.
In order to overcome the competition concerns, Tronox has offered to sell its global business comprising the required technology and other intangibles to “an experienced manufacturer with chloride-based production technology active in the European Economic Area”.
Tronox currently supplies the paper-laminate TiO2 grade to European customers from its facility in Botlek, the Netherlands. The company added that it is “working expeditiously” to submit to the Commission a definitive agreement with another party for the divestment.
Without the sale, the Commission said the merger would have significantly reduced competition in Europe for chloride-based TiO2 used in paper laminate. It did not, however, have concerns about the pigment’s use in other products, particularly in paints and plastics. Similarly, the Commission found no competition concerns relating to TiO2 feedstocks, as neither company is a major supplier to third parties.
Approvals for the takeover have already been received in Australia, China, New Zealand, Turkey, South Korea, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. However, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has yet to clear the deal. Tronox filed suit against the FTC in January 2018, alleging the agency is using delaying tactics to block the acquisition, which was first announced in February 2017.