Competition & Markets Authority
Cleaning chemicals firms’ merger raises competition concerns
The CMA has provisionally found that Ecolab’s merger with Holchem may mean businesses face higher prices or a lower quality of service for their cleaning chemicals.
The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) in-depth investigation has provisionally found that the merged organisation is likely to face limited competition from other suppliers. Ecolab and Holchem are two of the largest suppliers of cleaning chemicals to food and drink manufacturers in the UK. The merger will create a new organisation with a market share of 40-50%, much greater than any of the remaining competitors.
Both companies make and supply cleaning chemicals and technical support services for businesses that manufacture, process and package food, drink and dairy products. Access to competitively-priced, safe and effective cleaning chemicals and services is an important part of keeping food and drink safe and free from contamination.
The group of independent CMA panel members leading the inquiry has analysed a significant amount of data, including on customers and tenders which showed that they compete closely. The Group also conducted hearings with Ecolab and Holchem and sought views from customers.
Kirstin Baker, the Inquiry Chair yesterday said:
“We are concerned that as a result of this merger, prices will go up or quality standards in crucial support services will get worse. The Group has therefore provisionally concluded that the merger is likely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition.”
The CMA is now inviting comments on both its provisional findings (by 27 August) and its possible remedies (by 13 August), including unwinding the deal.
Further details can be found on the Ecolab/Holchem case page.
Latest News from
Competition & Markets Authority
Competition concerns in retail investment software merger05/08/2020 15:10:00
Following an in-depth investigation, the CMA has provisionally blocked the merger of FNZ and GBST.
CMA clears Amazon’s 16% investment in Deliveroo05/08/2020 09:20:00
Following an in-depth investigation, the CMA yesterday cleared Amazon’s 16% investment in Deliveroo after finding that it will not substantially lessen competition.
CMA final decision on air traffic control charges24/07/2020 09:20:00
The CMA has sent the CAA its final price control determination on a dispute between the aviation regulator and NERL regarding air traffic control charges.
Roland fined £4 million for illegally preventing online price discounts23/07/2020 13:38:00
Lessons from the CMA’s investigation into Roland's use of illegal resale price maintenance (RPM).
How should competition policy react to coronavirus?22/07/2020 12:20:00
IPPR yesterday published a paper by CMA Chairman Andrew Tyrie, discussing how competition policy can contribute to a robust and sustainable post-crisis recovery.
Customers could lose out in merger between window blind companies17/07/2020 09:20:00
The CMA has provisionally found that Hunter Douglas’ purchase of 247 Home Furnishings Ltd raises competition concerns.
CMA publishes Annual Report 2019/202015/07/2020 13:48:00
The CMA has published its Annual Report, highlighting the wide range of work the UK competition and consumer authority has carried out in the past year.
CMA levies fines of £2.3m and secures £8m for NHS in pharma probe10/07/2020 09:20:00
The CMA has formally concluded that 3 pharmaceutical companies took part in an illegal arrangement in relation to the supply of life-saving medicine.