INEOS/SSG merger cleared by European Commission

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of Sasol Solvents Germany GmbH (SSG) by INEOS Investment S.A. (INEOS). The parties’ activities overlap in the market for industrial ethanol, where both SSG and INEOS produce synthetic ethanol. Although the merged entity would be the only producer of synthetic ethanol in the EEA, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns in the market for industrial ethanol, as the merged entity will continue to face strong competitive pressure from large suppliers of fermentation ethanol in the EEA. In addition, the transaction took place after Sasol’s public announcement of its intention to close its European synthetic ethanol production facilities. The Commission also examined a limited number of vertical relationships involving isopropanol (IPA), but concluded that they did not give rise to competition concerns because the merged entity’s combined market shares would remain moderate.
A CRA team including Diana Jackson, Matthew Bennett, Rebecca Fordham, Matt Tavantzis, and Gerhard Dijkstra advised the parties throughout the proceedings.

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