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AdC opens investigation into Pigments Spain Ferro assets merger

Christian Fernsby |
The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) has decided to open an in depth investigation into the acquisition of sole control by Pigments Spain, of a set of assets in the business of coatings for the ceramic industry owned by Ferro Corporation.

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The AdC’s initial market investigation indicated that the proposed merger could raise serious competition concerns, in particular because the merged entity's behaviour may have the ability and incentive to deteriorate the offer conditions, such as price, quality or variety, thus creating significant barriers to competition in the supply of enamels, enamelled paints and digital paints essential inputs to the ceramic floor and tile industry.

Pigments Spain is a Spanish company owned by the group Esmalglass-Itaca-Fritta (EIF), which is mainly dedicated to ceramic coating. In Portugal, the EIF group is present through an afilliate, Esmalglass Portugal, a company which provides customer support services on ceramic industry.

The Ferro Assets are a set of companies which develop, produce and sell ceramic tile coverings and are located in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. In Portugal, the target business includes assets belonging to the group's national subsidiary, Ferro - Indústrias Químicas, Lda.

The decision to open an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. Rather, it allows to add more information to address the concerns raised during Phase I of the investigation. Following this, the final decision may be:

- A non-opposition decision, if the AdC concludes that the merger, as notified or following changes introduced by Pigments Spain, is unlikely to create significant barriers to competition in the relevant markets; or

A prohibition decision, if the AdC concludes that the merger is likely to create significant barriers to competition in the markets in question, with clear losses for consumers.

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