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EC opens in-depth investigation into acquisition of VDM by Aperam

Staff Writer |
The European Commission (EC) has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of VDM by Aperam under the EU Merger Regulation. At this stage, the Commission is concerned that the merger may reduce competition in the supply of nickel alloys.

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Aperam and VDM both produce nickel alloys, which are highly alloyed steels with a nickel content of at least 25%, used predominantly in highly corrosive or hot environments. They have customers in a range of industries, including the automotive, oil & gas, chemical process and electronics & electrical industries.

Aperam and VDM are the two leading nickel alloy producers in Europe, and the transaction may strengthen VDM's already strong position in flat nickel alloy products specifically.

The Commission's initial market investigation raised issues relating in particular to the combination of Aperam's and VDM's offering of flat nickel alloy products, namely with regard to nickel alloy plates and sheets, and nickel alloy strips.

At this stage, the Commission is concerned that, following the transaction, customers would face reduced choice of suppliers, as well as higher prices, for nickel alloy plates and sheets, and for strips. VDM is already the market leader in these products and its position could be strengthened further through its merger with Aperam.

The Commission will also investigate further whether the transaction could have an effect on the supply and prices of long nickel alloy products, namely nickel alloy wire and wire rod.

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