EU Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of VDM by Aperam in nickel alloy industry



The European Commission 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.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Nickel alloys are a crucial input for industrial products in a wide range of sectors, including cars and trucks, oil and gas and electronic and electrical equipment. The proposed transaction would bring together the two leading European suppliers. This is why the Commission will carefully assess whether Aperam's plans to buy VDM would affect competition in the markets for nickel alloysand would lead to less choice or higher prices for European manufacturers, and ultimately, for consumers."

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 preliminary competition concerns

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.

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