WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) allegations that a $1.67 merger between two chloride process titanium dioxide suppliers would affect competition in that market was recently upheld by an administrative law judge.
The FTC argued against the merger between competitors Tronox Limited and Cristal, who are major companies in the titanium dioxide market, which is used in products such as paint, industrial coatings, plastics and paper. According to the FTC's administrative complaint, Tronox's acquisition of Cristal would violate antitrust laws by creating a lack of competition in the U.S. and Canadian markets.
Chief administrative law judge D. Michael Chappell agreed with the FTC's arguments and ordered the termination of the proposed merger agreement, stating that the companies failed to prove the merger would not harm the market.
“The evidence proves that the planned acquisition may substantially lessen competition in the relevant market for the sale of chloride TiO2 in North America in violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act and Section 5 of the FTC Act,” Chappell stated in his ruling.
“Respondents have failed to rebut this proof, including by failing to demonstrate that entry or expansion would be timely, likely, and sufficient to counteract the likely anticompetitive effects of the acquisition, or to demonstrate cognizable synergies or efficiencies that might justify the likely anticompetitive effects of the acquisition.” .
The FTC had previously received an order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granting a preliminary injunction to prevent the proposed merger, according to the federal agency.