The deal, first announced in November, was put on hold at the end of February when the UK’s Competitions and Mergers Authority (CMA) served an enforcement order under section 72(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002. The CMA declared that it intended to investigate whether or not the potential merger of the two UK wholesalers would result in a substantial lessening of competition in the UK market.
Following the unconditional approval announced yesterday, Beijer Ref says it can now proceed with its restructuring plans for the HRP business, which has been run separately during the CMA’s investigation.
John Billson, managing director of Beijer Ref UK and Ireland, commented: “We were highly confident that the acquisition of HRP would not reduce competition and are satisfied that the CMA has recognised this. My team and I can now get on and develop the HRP, 3D and HRP OEM brands.”
Clearly delighted by the decision, he went on to say: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our suppliers, customers and employees for their understanding and support during this process.”
Beijer Ref has insisted that the three companies will continue to operate under their respective brands but see opportunities to turnaround HRP’s loss-making business through coordination with the Group’s existing UK refrigeration operations and logistics.
The acquisition seemed inevitable following the death of HRP chairman and main shareholder Kingsley Curtis in September. As well as owning UK wholesalers Dean & Wood and RW Refrigeration Wholesale, Beijer Ref also owned around 44% of their competitor HRP as a result of its acquisition of Carrier Corporation’s refrigeration wholesale operation.
With the acquisition, Beijer Ref’s three UK companies will report sales of more than SEK1.3bn (€140m).