EU launches second investigation involving Holcim deals

The European Commission has launched an investigation into the planned acquisition of Cemex West by Swiss cement giant Holcim. The Commission is concerned that the deal may reduce competition in Germany and Belgium, where Cemex West is a competitor to Holcim. The Commission has until 10 March to make a decision.

The planned transaction involved Holcim acquiring Cemex group's activities in cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and cementitious materials in parts of Germany, along with a number of small plants located in France and the Netherlands.

The Commission decided to launch the investigation after its initial market investigation concluded that the deal could lessen competition in the affected areas. The Commission is concerned that cement producers will be able to coordinate their behaviour.

The Commission seems to have developed a penchant for cement industry investigations. Only four days ago the Commission authorised anti-trust regulators to investigate the planned acquisition of Holcim's Spanish operations by Cemex.