Aluminium merger put on hold

A planned merger incorporating three of the world's leading aluminium companies, including Switzerland's Algroup, has been put on hold, while the European Commission decides whether a tie-up would contravene European competition rules.

This content was published on March 14, 2000 - 16:21

A planned merger incorporating three of the world's leading aluminium companies, including Switzerland's Algroup, has been put on hold, while the European Commission decides whether a tie-up would contravene European competition rules.

The European Commission was to rule on whether the merger could go ahead. But one of three companies involved - France's Pechiney - withdrew its application at the last minute.

The move suggested that the companies believed the merger would be blocked by the EU's competition commissioner, Mario Monti.

They have now split the merger process into two stages. The first involves a two-way merger between Algroup and Canada's Alcan. The European Commission has said it will rule on this by March 22.

If that's approved, Pechiney is expected to submit a fresh application to merge with the newly-created Swiss/Canadian company.

The companies have not explicitly outlined their plans, but all three have made it clear that they are committed to a three-way merger and will do what is necessary to achieve it.

The European Commission is expected to approve a link-up between Algroup and Alcan, but a future deal with Pechiney is far from certain.

The Commission would have to be happy that the new company could not create or reinforce a dominant position in any of the market sectors in which it would be active.

swissinfo and agencies

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