The Australian packaging giant announced last week the DOJ had halted the Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger waiting period. The decision by the US Government body effectively gives it the green light to proceed with its buyout of Alcan Packaging.
However, the US antitrust authority confirmed that it would continue its scrutiny of Alcan’s medical flexible business which is expected to take up to three months. During this period, the division will remain part of Rio Tinto. The business units consist of four sites with sales of around US$115m. The DOJ will deliver its verdict after making a “detailed review of the market”, confirmed Amcor.
“The decision by the U.S. Department of Justice allows closing to occur on all of the operations except Alcan’s Medical Flexibles operations in the US,” said a company statement.
This is not the first time competition concerns have been raised by regulatory authorities in the wake of the proposed US$2.025bn deal that Amcor tabled in August 2009 and Rio Tinto formally accepted in December.
Last month the European Union also gave the go-ahead for the deal on condition Amcor off-loaded the “major part” of its pharmaceutical flexible packaging business in the region. The company has agreed divest its Tobepal plants in Spain - which have combined sales of approximately €110 million and are part of the Amcor Flexibles division.
Brussels said “competition concerns in the European market for flexible packaging used in the pharmaceutical sector” had surfaced as a result of its initial investigation into the takeover.
Amcor managing director and CEO, Ken MacKenzie hailed the US decision on December 29 saying: “Receiving this approval from the U.S. Department of Justice is another critical step toward closing the Alcan Packaging acquisition.”
Regulatory approvals have now been granted in Europe, United States, Australia, Canada, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.