Tetra Laval fined 90,000 Euros

Tetra Laval has been fined 90,000 Euros by the European Commission for providing incorrect or misleading information when requesting EC approval for its acquisition of French company Sidel.

The European Commission has fined Swiss-Swedish carton packaging company Tetra Laval BV 90,000 Euros for providing incorrect or misleading information regarding its Tetra Fast technology when it requested regulatory approval for its acquisition of French company Sidel.

The Commission discovered that during its examination of Tetra Laval’s acquisition of Sidel in 2001, the Swiss-Swedish company had failed to fully disclose relevant research and development and intellectual property rights by not providing information about its Tetra Fast technology.

Tetra Laval intends to appeal the decision.

“The Commission’s decision raises important issues of principle with regard to parties’ obligations under EU merger control rules. Hence, we find it necessary to appeal this decision to the Court of First Instance,” said Jörgen Haglind, Tetra Laval’s Senior Vice President for Communications.

Yesterday’s Commission decision relates to the initial notification of Tetra Laval’s acquisition of Sidel, the French manufacturer of machines for producing PET bottles. The acquisition was the subject of two Commission decisions, the scrutiny of the European Court of First Instance and was approved by the EU Commission on January 13, 2003.

“The Tetra Fast technology, which is at the heart of the decision, is still in its development phase and the Commission has shown a manifest misunderstanding of both its features and potential. We do not believe the Commission has any grounds to impose a fine on Tetra Laval”, continued Jörgen Haglind.

Tetra Fast is a project developed by Tetra Pak which attempts to use combustion technology to form PET bottles rather than the traditional compressed air technology. Tetra Fast has yet to prove its commercial viability.

“Throughout the lengthy scrutiny of our acquisition of Sidel, including the procedure after the Court of First Instance had quashed the Commission’s original decision, Tetra Laval provided accurate and timely information to the European Commission”, concluded Jörgen Haglind.