By AOIFE WHITE and ANDREW NOEL
INEOS Group and Solvay, Europes two biggest makers of
polyvinyl chloride, face an in-depth European Union (EU) probe
into their 4.3 billion-euro ($5.8 billion) PVC merger,
The European Commission said the deal would remove a key
competitor for bleach and for suspension PVC resin used to make
pipes and window frames, according to an e-mailed statement
Concessions offered by the companies failed to provide a
sufficiently clear-cut solution to eliminate antitrust
concerns, it said. The EU set a new deadline of March 21 to
rule on the transaction.
The proposed combination, announced in May, would allow the
enlarged business to cut costs in areas from transport to
marketing and raise profitability amid a European industry
suffering from inflated raw material and energy costs.
The PVC market is facing overcapacity and weak demand in
Europe, prompting companies in the labor-intensive and
power-hungry industry to explore mergers. Solvay has said it
plans to exit the PVC venture at a later stage.