Mergers: EU Commission clears Aurubis’ acquisition of Metallo

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, Aurubis’ acquisition of Metallo, a large copper scrap refiner. The Commission concluded that the merger would not adversely affect competition in the European Economic Areaor any substantial part of it. Today’s decision follows an in-depth investigation of Aurubis’ proposed acquisition of Metallo.

The Commission assessed whether, as a consequence of the transaction, the merged entity would have increased its buyer power and be able to impose lower prices for the copper scrap it purchases. Such lower prices could potentially harm industrial suppliers of copper scrap in the EEA when selling scrap as a by-product of their production process.

In such cases, being paid less for the scrap unavoidably created through the production process is equivalent to facing higher costs of production. This in turn can potentially lead to the final products becoming more expensive. With respect to the market for CSSR, the Commission found that the merger was not likely to lead to a significant impediment of effective competition.

With respect to copper scrap no.2, no significant impediment to effective competition was found, in particular due to a large number of alternative outlets available to suppliers. The Commission also concluded that no concerns would arise with respect to vertical relationships between the parties, in particular regarding copper rods and copper shapes produced by Aurubis, for which Metallo is a potential input supplier of copper cathodes.

The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns in the EEA or any substantial part of it and cleared the case unconditionally.

Executive Vice-President Margarethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Copper is an important input needed for electric mobility and digitisation. A well-functioning circular economy in copper is important to ensure a sustainable usage of resources in the context of the European Green Deal.

This is why we carried out an in-depth investigation of the merger between Aurubis and Metallo. We initially raised concerns about the transaction and looked into it carefully. Our investigation brought sufficient elements to conclude competition in the copper recycling sector will not be negatively affected by the merger of Aurubis and Metallo.”

Arianna Podesta –

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