December 20, 2017 / 2:29 PM / a year ago

EU Commission to investigate acquisition of Cristal by Tronox

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission on Wednesday said it had opened an in-depth investigation into the acquisition of Saudi Arabian mining group Cristal by U.S. based peer Tronox (TROX.N), saying the deal may have negative competition effects.

The Commission, which acts as the competition watchdog in the European Union, said the merger could reduce competition in the titanium dioxide pigment markets, used for products such as paper, plastics and paint.

“For some of them, such as paints for buildings and specific types of plastics and paper, the number of suppliers of titanium dioxide is particularly limited,” the Commission said in a statement.

The Commission said it had until May 15, 2018 to take a decision.

Earlier this month, the U.S. government also filed a complaint aimed at stopping the merger, the Federal Trade Commission said.

Tronox valued the deal at $1.673 billion when it was announced in February.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Robin Emmott

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