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, regulators
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 today.
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