CMA serve enforcement order on Beijer Ref

UK – The Competition and Markets agency, CMA, have announced that they are to investigate the completed acquisition of HRP Holdings Limited by Beijer Ref AB. The CMA are investigating the possibility that the acquisition of HRP means that the level of competition in the UK market has been adversely affected and greatly reduced. Beijer’s acquisition of the remaining 56% of the shares in HRP means that the company, with the addition of its previous wholesalers Dean & Wood and RW Refrigeration Wholesale, is now the undoubted market leader in the UK.

The CMA today served an initial enforcement order under section 72(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002 on Beijer Ref AB in relation to the completed acquisition by Beijer Ref Ab of HRP holdings Limited on the 26th of February. In today’s enforcement order, the CMA informed the two companies that it “has reasonable grounds for suspecting that it is or may be the case that Beijer Ref AB (publ) (Beijer Ref) and HRP Holdings Limited (HRP) have ceased to be distinct”.

The order also disclosed that the CMA was “considering, pursuant to section 22 of the Act, whether it is or may be the case that a relevant merger situation has been created and whether the creation of that situation has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the United Kingdom” while also underlining the CMA’s desire “to ensure that no action is taken pending final determination of any reference under section 22 of the Act which might prejudice that reference or impede the taking of any action by the CMA under Part 3 of the Act which might be justified by the CMA’s decisions on the reference.”

The initial enforcement order also explicitly prohibited Beijer Ref from taking any decisions or actions which might lead to the integration of the HRP business with the Beijer Ref business or transfer the ownership or control of the Beijer Ref business or the HRP business or any of their subsidiaries, or otherwise impair the ability of the HRP business or the Beijer Ref business to compete independently in any of the markets affected by the transaction.