Court annuls second Commission merger veto in one week

The EU’s Court of First Instance has overturned for the second time in one week the Commission’s decision to block a merger between two companies.

The Court of First Instance annuled the prohibition of this merger between Sidel and Tetra Laval with the argument that the “economic analysis of the immediate anti-competitive effects, of conglomerate effects and of the foreseeable conduct of the companies in question is based on insufficient evidence and some errors of assessment”. The Court rejected however Tetra Laval’s argument concerning infringement of the right of access to the file.

On 22 October, the Court had annuled the Commission’s veto against the merger of French companies Legrand and Schneider (see

EURACTIV 23 October 2002). Four months earlier, the same Court overturned another Commission decision to block the merger between the UK travel groups Airtours and First Choice (seeEURACTIV 7 June 2002).

 

Tetra Lavalannounced that the company will resubmit its bid for French bottlemaker Sidel and would expect to win.

 

On 30 October 2001, the Commission prohibited the acquisition of French company Sidel SA by Tetra Laval, saying that the take-over would combine Tetra's dominant position in carton packaging with Sidel's leading position in PET plastic packaging equipment. The Commission estimated that the merger would create a dominant position in the market for PET packaging equipment.

 

The Commission has 60 days to study the Court's ruling and to decide whether it will appeal before the European Court of Justice.

 

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