The European Commission has opened an ‘in-depth’ investigation into the merger of chocolate business Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill, due to potential competition concerns in the supply of industrial chocolate in Germany and the UK.
Cargill announced its acquisition of ADM late last year, but there has since been a preliminary investigation into this move, which found it could impact several smaller competitors for the supply of industrial chocolate.
The Commission stated: “The Commission’s preliminary investigation showed potential competition concerns in the supply of industrial chocolate to customers in Germany and the UK. The Commission found that Cargill, ADM and Barry Callebaut are the main suppliers of industrial chocolate to customers in these markets.
“The investigation also revealed that several smaller competitors for the supply of industrial chocolate have a more limited presence and do not pose a sufficient competitive constraint on the parties.”
The Commission has until 8 July, to investigate the proposed acquisition in-depth, and determine whether these initial concerns are correct.
Cargill said it would buy the international chocolate business of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) for $440m (£226.4m), in September last year.
The transaction does not include the activities of ADM in semi-finished chocolate products, such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder - only industrial chocolate, as well as fat-based coatings and fillings.