Decision Nº M/04/036 from Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 2004-07-16

CourtCompetition and Consumer Protection Commission (Ire)
PartiesBillington Food,British Sugar
Decision Date16 July 2004
Date16 July 2004
StatusPreliminary investigation (Phase 1)
Decision NumberM/04/036
Determination of the Competition Authority
Determination No. M/04/036 of the Competition Authority, dated
Notification No. M/04/036 - the proposed acquisition by British
Sugar plc. of Billington Food Group Limited
Introduction
1. On 17 June 2004 the Competition Authority, in accordance with
Section 18(1) of the Competition Act 2002, was notified, on a
mandatory basis, of a proposal whereby British Sugar plc (“British
Sugar”), would acquire the entire issued share capital of Billington
Food Group Limited (“Billingtons”), together with Billingtons’ 30%
shareholding in Sukpak Limitee (“the proposed acquisition”).
2. The proposed acquisition was notified to the United Kingdom Office of
Fair Trading, on 2 June 2004.
The Parties
3. British Sugar, incorporated in England and Wales, produces and
supplies sugar from sugar beet grown in the UK. British Sugar’s
turnover for the year ended 13 September 2003 was about
€1,100million. British Sugar sells a relatively small quantity of refined
sugar in the State ([0-1,000] tonnes, about €[0-1,000,000] worth, in
its most recent financial year). British Sugar only supplies to industrial
users in the State, mainly Irish Sugar.
4. Billingtons, incorporated in England and Wales, imports unrefined cane
sugar into the UK, mainly from Mauritius. Billingtons’ turnover for the
year ended 30 April 2003 was about €44.2 million. Billingtons also
sells a relatively small quantity of unrefined sugar in the State to
industrial users (about €[1-1,000,000] worth in its most recent
financial year).
Analysis
5. British Sugar supplies refined sugars, produced from beet, and
Billingtons supplies unrefined sugars, produced from cane. Neither
party has any physical presence in the State.
6. The parties estimate that the total value of the Irish sugar industry is
about €143million, or 184,000 tonnes, split into 154,000 tonnes to
industrial customers and 30,000 tonnes to retail customers. Irish
Sugar produces approximately 200,000 tonnes annually. The parties
estimate that Irish Sugar exports 48,000 tonnes and that there are
imports into the State from the UK of 12,000 tonnes and from France
of up to 20,000 tonnes. The parties’ combined sales in the State, for
their most recent financial years, are approximately €[0-2,000,000],
which is less than 1% of total sales in the Irish industry. This parties’
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