Friday, 12 June 2009

Brenntag probe: what will the impact be on its other regions?

I recently interviewed Clare Waters, managing director of Brenntag UK and wrote up an article on the group's growth aspirations. Yesterday's report makes me wonder what the impact of this investigation will be on the wider Brenntag group in CEE and elsewhere.

Here is the report in full:

German Bundeskartellamt expands antitrust investigations

According to reliable sources, the Bundeskartellamt “BK” sent early June a detailed questionnaire to over 100 German distributors requesting them to release promptly information about the links existing between Brenntag, Chemische Verein Hannover “CVH” and CG Chemikalien “CG”.

This new extended investigation deals mostly with market dominance issues and risks of abuse of dominant position. Previously, the BK focused its investigations on alleged antitrust infringements on the limited industry sector of commodity chemicals.

In addition, each listed distributor is requested to describe thoroughly their business activities and results in the sectors where they are involved as well as the participations they hold in other distribution companies.

Through this unprecedented move, the “BK” is expected to gain full market knowledge and transparency in order to be able to complete their on-going investigations on antitrust, merger control and market dominance issues.


Of course there is no suggestion they have done anything wrong, but it must be inducing a sense of nervousness across the group. They will be worried about how long the investigation will go on for and whether customers will become nervous. It is always un-nerving when something like this blows up. It will certainly be the talk of the town at the FECC distribution conference in Helsinki in a few weeks!

Brenntag has a big operation in CEE under the leadership of Helmut Struger who has expanded it agressively organically and through acquisitions.

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