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NMa approves sugar merger

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has approved the acquisition by Koninklijke Coöperatie Cosun U.A. (Cosun) of all the shares of CSM Suiker B.V. (CSM). In the NMa's opinion, the merger will not result in the creation of a dominant position on the market for the sale of sugar.

Last year, the European Union began reforming the sugar sector. The NMa investigated whether this reform will result in the internationalisation of the sugar market and, as a consequence of this, whether pressure from foreign competitors will increase. The NMa did so both with regard to industrial sugar and sugar for consumption.

On both of these markets, transport costs are not a barrier which will prevent companies from turning to foreign markets. The development of imports and exports of sugar is most clearly visible in the case of industrial sugar. On the market for consumer sugar, sugar is also imported and producers and buyers are increasingly oriented towards procurement from foreign countries. Foreign suppliers therefore have access to the Dutch market and Dutch buyers have sufficient alternatives for procuring sugar in other countries. There is therefore no reason to assume that imports and exports of sugar would not increase further if prices were to increase in the Netherlands.

In the NMa' s opinion, the merger will also not result in the emergence of a dominant position on the market for the procurement of sugar beet. Prior to the merger, sugar beet producers had hardly any opportunities at all to supply a different sugar producer. The merger will not change this.