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Brussels says yes to aluminium merger, with strings attached

The European Commission has given the go-ahead to a planned merger between the Swiss aluminium company, Algroup, and the Canadian firm, Alcan. However, it has laid down conditions.

This content was published on March 14, 2000 - 18:06

The European Commission has given the go-ahead to a planned merger between the Swiss aluminium company, Algroup, and the Canadian firm, Alcan. However, it has laid down conditions.

The Commission said it approved the proposal on condition the companies sold off certain sectors so that they did not dominate those particular markets. Brussels was looking into whether the Algroup-Alcan merger contravened European competition rules.

The decision came hours after France's Pechiney announced it was withdrawing from a proposed $21 billion link-up with Alcan and Algroup. The move followed indications from Brussels that it would veto the three-way merger.

However, Pechiney is expected to submit a fresh application to merge with the newly created Swiss/Canadian company at a later stage. 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.

But it is far from certain a deal with Pechiney can be reached. The European 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.

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