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Acquisition of ACP Europe and Eurocylinder by Air Products – UOKiK’s objections

In February 2018, Air Products and Chemicals Inc., listed on NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), notified the Polish Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) about concentration involving the acquisition of ACP Europe S.A. and Eurocylinder NV.

The acquired entities specialize in the production of carbon dioxide, therefore the President of UOKiK conducted analysis of this market and concluded that „the concentration may lead to a restriction of competition. First of all, more than half of the market for the production and marketing of carbon dioxide may be covered by Air Products. The company will have more than twice the share in market in comparison to its largest competitor. What’s more, this advantage may increase in the upcoming years due to the planned launch of new installations. As a result, the transaction may increase the price of liquid carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide as dry ice is used, among others, as a coolant, as operating medium in CO2 fire extinguishers and fire-extinguishing systems, propellant gas for pneumatic weapon, carbonated beverage ingredient (E290) and for precipitation of residues of calcium hydroxide from beet juice

Objections of the President of UOKiK were filed pursuant to art. 96a para. 3 of the Act on competition protection. Currently, Air Products has 14 days to respond to the statement of UOKiK.

The form in which objections have been raised, as well as the mode of presentation of conditions by the President of UOKiK (Article 96a paragraph 5), was introduced into the Polish Act on Competition and Consumer Protection in 2015 to increase the transparency of companies merger and acquisitions.

The submission of objections to the concentration by the President of UOKiK, even if it does not prejudge the final outcome of the proceedings, usually it is a precursor of conditional consent for a merger or acquisition, but it should be emphasized that in extreme cases it may lead to issuance by the President of UOKiK a decision on the prohibition of concentration.

Author team leader DKP Legal Michał Dudkowiak
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