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EU Commission: K+S / Remex joint venture gives rise to competition concerns

Forklift lifts bigbag into a row of similar bags inside a storage facility.
Remex and K+S Group plan to pool their underground
waste disposal operations. (symbolic image)
21.10.2021 − 

K+S and Remondis subsidiary Remex will have to wait to find out if they will be allowed establish a joint venture. The European Commission has referred the case to the German national competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) after its own investigation found that the transaction gives rise to competition concerns in the market for the disposal of hazardous fly ash. The companies had sought to establish a joint venture in which they aimed to bundle their underground waste disposal activities. The new company was to operate under the Reks trade name.

If the transaction is allowed to proceed, K+S would sell disposal space in its underground facilities in Herfa-Neurode and Zielitz exclusively to the joint venture and contribute waste disposal revenues to the joint venture. In return, Remex would contribute its wholly owned subsidiary Aurec to the joint venture. At the K+S site in Bernburg in Saxony-Anhalt, Aurec processes mineral waste for backfilling in mines. In addition, Remex also wants to transfer underground waste storage sales activities to the new joint venture.

K+S and Remex had proposed commitments intended to relieve some of the competition concerns. However the European Commission considers the proposed commitments to be "insufficient to address the serious doubts about the compatibility of the transaction with the internal market".

Proceedings referred to Bundeskartellamt

Germany's national competition authority, the Bundeskartellamt, had requested that the case be referred to it, believing that the creation of the planned joint venture could "threaten to significantly affect competition in the markets for the underground disposal of waste in Germany". Accordingly, the Commission had transferred the case to the national competition authority as it is "best placed to assess the effects of the proposed concentration" once its own investigation had confirmed that that the formal conditions for referral were fulfilled.

Remex and K+S announced their plans for the joint venture Reks at the end of last year. At that time, they had expected the transaction to be completed in summer 2021.

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