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CMA to investigate HRP acquisition

HRP-logoUK: Beijer Ref’s integration of UK refrigeration wholesaler HRP has been put on hold pending investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The acquisition of HRP, announced in November and completed on February 1, saw HRP joining existing Beijer Ref brands Dean & Wood and RW, and made Beijer Ref the leading refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler in the UK.

Although intending to operate HRP as an independent brand, Beijer Ref planned to stem HRP’s considerable losses and turn it back into a profitable business through what it described as “efficient co-ordination with the Group’s existing UK refrigeration operations and by implementing a fully-comprehensive UK logistics network”.

These plans have now been put on hold following the CMA’s enforcement order under section 72(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002, served last Thursday (February 25).

The CMA must prove within 40 days whether the Beijer Ref UK businesses, combined, would command more than 25% of the UK market. In the meantime, Beijer Ref is prevented from proceeding with its rationalisation plans which include closing HRP’s administrative headquarters in Bury St Edmunds and moving its functions to Beijer Ref’s UK administrative hq in Leeds.

Beijer Ref UK md John Billson told the Cooling Post: “It is not uncommon for Beijer Ref AB to work with local merger authorities as part of an acquisition process. The acquisition of HRP is no different and Beijer Ref are working with the authorities in the UK to define our market position.

“We are comfortable and highly confident working within this process,” he added.

Related stories:

Beijer to restructure HRP to stem losses – February 1, 2016
UK: Beijer Ref has confirmed it is negotiating the closure of HRP’s Bury St Edmunds hq in an effort to stem company losses and protect the remaining branches. Read more…

Beijer Ref buys wholesaler HRP – November 18, 2015
UK: Swedish refrigeration wholesaling group Beijer Ref has confirmed its acquisition of the remaining shares in UK wholesaler HRP. Read more…

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