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26 August 2010
At the end of July 2010 the Competition Agency gave final approval to the Mol/INA merger.(1) The agency approved the sale of Crobenz dd to Lukoil Croatia doo by accepting the report of the appointed independent commissioner. This was an important step, as the first attempt to sell Crobenz failed because the potential purchase was rejected for not fulfilling the conditions set out by the agency when it granted conditional approval of the Mol/INA merger. The agency's decision was based on the following reasons:
Further, the merger between Lukoil and Crobenz was cleared because the structure of the relevant market showed that there would be no negative competitive effect. In this respect, the divestiture conditions set out in the agency's June 2009 decision are considered to have been fulfilled (for further details please see "Mol/INA merger faces further difficulties").
The Competition Council has also cleared the merger between Atlantic Grupa and Droga Kolinska. Due to its possible impact on the Croatian market, the acquisition of Droga Kolinska was subject to assessment by the Competition Agency, even though it will be implemented outside Croatia. The agency held that this merger would not produce significant anti-competitive effects in the markets concerned, as the market shares in new markets and the market shares in markets in which Atlantic Grupa is already active will not reach a significant amount.
Further, the joint venture controlled by Merck & Co (United States) and Sanofi-Aventis (France) has been approved. This joint venture was set up outside Croatia. The Competition Agency held that it will not produce significant anti-competitive effects in the Croatian pharmaceuticals market, since the new undertaking will hold a market share of approximately 15% to 20% in sales of veterinary pharmaceuticals and biological animal health products in Croatia. Further, the merger of research and development activities improve the quality of medicinal products on the market.
The Competion Agency Council has adopted its Market Research in Food, Beverages and Sanitary Products Distribution for 2009. The market research covers wholesale and retail, analysing 54 undertakings with the highest turnover rates in Croatia. The market research proves that the wholesale market in this sector is highly concentrated, with Konzum dd holding the highest market share. Konzum is also the market leader in the retail market when it comes to both individual turnover and market share. However, the market research shows that the retail market in food, beverages and sanitary products is of moderate concentration.(2)
(1) Press release of the Competition Agency available at www.aztn.hr/eng/press.asp.
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Gabriele Wahl Cesarec