Tronox says ready to demonstrate pro-competitive merits of Cristal deal
Tronox Limited has received notice that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint today against Tronox in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. The complaint alleges that Tronox's pending acquisition of the titanium dioxide business of Cristal would violate antitrust laws by significantly reducing competition in the North American market for chloride-process TiO2. Tronox has made repeated attempts to prompt this action by the FTC, which allows for the legality of the proposed acquisition to be decided expeditiously on its merits. It also provides the company a forum to demonstrate how the proposed acquisition enhances the company's competitiveness on a global scale. The FTC's decision to file a complaint against Tronox follows closely upon the receipt of conditional approval from the European Commission for the Cristal acquisition. The EC's approval is conditional only on Tronox divesting a paper-laminate grade of TiO2, which Tronox is expeditiously seeking to complete. This output-enhancing acquisition positions Tronox to become a leading TiO2 producer capable of succeeding in a fiercely competitive global market," said Jeffry N. Quinn, president and CEO of Tronox. "For months, we have urged the FTC to follow its ordinary procedure to determine the merits of the acquisition, the same procedure the Department of Justice uses for challenging unconsummated acquisitions and mergers. Instead, the FTC chose to challenge our transaction in a Part 3 Procedure before the FTC's Administrative Law Judge, which would not result in a timely decision. Even so, during the Part 3 Procedure, I believe we convincingly demonstrated that the FTC's objections to the Cristal transaction are entirely misplaced and that the transaction will benefit consumers through significantly increased production of TiO2 and efficiencies arising from our post-merger increased vertical integration. We now look forward to our long-awaited day in court and the opportunity to demonstrate how this transaction will benefit customers throughout North America and around the world."