The EU has closed an investigation into Cavan-based insulation maker Kingspan’s takeover of Slovenian competitor Trimo, suggesting the deal has fallen through.
Slovenian media reported in January that the proposed merger had fallen through due to difficulties getting it past European competition authorities, but these reports were not confirmed and the EU continued its investigation.
The European Commission said on Friday it “takes note” of a decision by Kingspan and Trimo owner European Architectural Systems to “terminate their proposed agreement”.
European Commission vice-president and competition chief Margrethe Vestager had previously expressed concerns that the merger would reduce competition in the market and increase prices for insulation materials.
She said on Friday that insulation panels were key to meeting the EU’s climate targets and “must be available to customers at affordable prices”.
“Kingspan and Trimo are leading suppliers of high quality mineral fiber sandwich panels. Together they would have become by far the biggest player in Europe,” she said.
“When we opened our in-depth investigation, we had concerns that the proposed transaction would affect competition in certain building materials markets and result in higher prices, lower quality or less choice for customers.”
Private equity fund Innova Capital signed a definitive agreement with Kingspan Group in August 2020 to sell its 100% stake in Trimo.
The EU opened an investigation into the takeover in April 2021, raising concerns that it could restrict competition and lead to price increases for insulation boards across the EU – particularly in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia – as well In the United Kingdom .
Kingspan and Trimo compete in sales of mineral fiber sandwich panels.
Slovenia-based Trimo is a leading manufacturer of fireproof roofs and facades and modular metal units for non-residential buildings, producing in Slovenia and Serbia and exporting to Western, Central and Eastern Europe.
It has a market share of around 10 percent in Europe and has become the second largest manufacturer of panels with a mineral wool core. Sales in Western Europe accounted for 35 percent of Trimo’s total sales in 2019.
Kingspan Kooltherm K15 insulation was one of the building products used at Grenfell Tower in London, where a fire killed 72 people in 2017.
Company executives appeared before Britain’s Grenfell Inquiry last year, which revealed serious flaws in Britain’s insulation board business.
Kingspan has since made changes to processes, governance and management and adopted a new code of conduct.
The group reported strong results for 2021, with sales up 42 percent to 6.5 billion euros for the year, despite significant commodity inflation. Kingspan posted a 45 percent increase in insulation board sales, driven by strong momentum in construction activity.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/eu-closes-probe-into-kingspan-takeover-of-slovenian-rival-after-deal-fails-41577790.html The EU is closing its investigation into Kingspan’s takeover of Slovenian rivals after the deal fell through