§ Mr. Barnes
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will refer to the Competition Commission for investigation under the Fair Trading Act 1973 the takeover of Biwater (Clay Cross) Ltd. by Saint Gobain. 73W
§ Mr. Byers
[holding answer 16 November 2000]: The Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) advised me on 21 June 2000 that I should not refer this merger to the Competition Commission under the Fair Trading Act 1973. I accepted this recommendation on 29 June 2000 and cleared the merger.
Subsequently, my hon. Friend and others raised issues which they felt amounted to material information which should lead to the case being re-opened and referred to the Competition Commission.
I submitted this information to the DGFT and asked him to consider whether it was material information.
The DGFT wrote to my hon. Friend on 23 October 2000 to say that he had concluded that the additional information provided was not material. Therefore he saw no grounds for re-opening the case.
After taking into account all the relevant considerations and the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973 I have accepted the advice of the DGFT.