HC Deb 25 July 1979 vol 971 cc273-4W

State for Trade on what day he received

Mr. Silvester

asked the Secretary of the report from the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the proposals by Merck and Company Inc. and by FMC Corporation to acquire Alginate Indus tries Ltd.; when the report will be published; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Sally Oppenbeim

My right hon. Friend received the report on 19 June; it is being published today. The Commission concluded that both merger situations might be expected not to operate against the public interest. In reaching its unanimous conclusions the Commission took into account the fact that the acquisition by Merck & Co. Inc. (Merck) of Alginate Industries Limited (AIL) would result in an already large market share in alginates becoming only marginally greater. And it thought it un-likely that Merck—even having acquired AIL—would enjoy any significant degree of market power, or that if it did so the situation would persist for long. It was, moreover, clear to the Commission that acquisition of AIL by FMC Corporation would have virtually no effect on com petition.

The Commission recognised that both of the proposed mergers could, in certain circumstances, have adverse consequences for AIL's employees in Scotland but it thought that the future prosperity of AIL, and hence its ability to contribute to the maintenance of employment in Scotland, would be more secure if AIL were acquired than if it remained independent.