CMA clears rendering merger
The CMA has cleared Linergy’s completed acquisition of Ulster Farm By-Products.
This follows its provisional decision to clear the merger in November 2015.
Linergy Limited (Linergy) and Ulster Farm By-Products Limited (UFBP) process animal by-products and fallen stock through rendering plants located in Northern Ireland. Customers who use rendering services include slaughter houses, deboning plants, other food processors, retailers such as butchers and purchasers of outputs from the rendering process (tallow and meat and bone meal).
The companies own different categories of rendering plant, operating in different markets, and so the inquiry group of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) members looking at the merger has concluded in its final report that it has not resulted, and may not be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition.
The group also considered whether a memorandum of understanding (MoU) previously signed between the companies in 2012 had influenced their subsequent strategic decisions. The group has concluded that the economic and commercial incentives around these decisions would have led to the same outcome in each case, irrespective of the MoU.
The group also looked at whether Linergy’s part ownership by meat processing companies could lead it to use its acquisition of the UFBP plant to disadvantage competing meat processing customers – by raising prices for rendering services or refusing to process their material at all. The group found that customers would still have alternative renderers to go to, that there would also be options other than rendering for customers, and in any case that Linergy’s shareholders would not benefit significantly from such a tactic, making them unlikely to attempt it.
The merger was referred for an in-depth phase 2 investigation on 28 July 2015. The final report is now available on the inquiry case page along with all other published information relating to the inquiry.
Notes for editors
- The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law.
- The phrase ‘animal by-products’ refers to what remains of an animal after meat and offal for human consumption, and other uses, has been removed. The phrase ‘fallen stock’ refers to animals that have died on farms.
- Linergy and UFBP had plans to merge in 2011/12. However, in March 2012, following the decision of the Office of Fair Trading to refer that merger to the Competition Commission for an in-depth phase 2 investigation, Linergy and UFBP abandoned their merger plans. Shortly after the merger was abandoned, SAPI SpA (SAPI) acquired UFBP and entered into an MoU with Linergy. On 14 May 2015, Linergy acquired UFBP from SAPI, and SAPI acquired 30% of the combined Linergy/UFBP.
- The UK merger control regime has 2 phases. Where a merger is referred to phase 2, the CMA must decide, on the balance of probabilities, whether the merger has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition.
- All the CMA’s functions in phase 2 merger inquiries are performed by inquiry groups chosen from the CMA’s panel members. The appointed inquiry group are the decision-makers on phase 2 inquiries. The CMA’s panel members come from a variety of backgrounds, including economics, law, accountancy and/or business. The membership of an inquiry group usually reflects a mix of expertise and experience (including industry experience).
- The inquiry group of CMA panel members is: Phil Evans (Inquiry Chair), Ros Hedley-Miller, Michael Hutchings and Tim Tutton.
- Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 3738 6798).
- For information on the CMA see our homepage, or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn. Sign up to our email alerts to receive updates on merger cases.