Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority approved the acquisition in the meat sector

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) has approved Atria Plc’s corporate acquisition of Saarioinen’s procurement, slaughtering and cutting operations for beef, pork and chicken. Both Atria and Saarioinen are significant players in the Finnish food and meat sector. According to the FCCA, the acquisition does not have the kind of significant negative impact on competition as defined by the Competition Act. Atria and Saarioinen also signed a supply contract according to which Saarioinen will acquire meat raw material from Atria.

The FCCA evaluated the acquisition’s impact in particular in the procurement market for animals for slaughter and the wholesale market for fresh meat. The authority took into account that many of Saarioinen’s meat producers have either become or are becoming producers of Atria’s competitors. Thus, the transaction will not strengthen Atria’s position on the procurement market by the same amount as the market position of the target of the deal. There are also other players on the procurement market such as HKScan and Oy Snellman Ab, whose positions have been strengthened by their relationship with Saarioinen’s former meat producers. After the transaction, Saarioinen’s producers will continue to be able to select their trading partners from among different meat producers. According to FCCA, the acquisition will not have a significant impact on the wholesale market for fresh meat either. Atria will deliver most of the fresh pork and beef that it receives through the deal to Saarioinen, so the amount of fresh meat in its possession will not markedly increase. There is also a new competitor in the wholesale market for fresh chicken, Huttulan Kukko, whose slaughter capacity and meat volumes it brings to the market are very close to Saarioinen’s capacity and volume. After the transaction, HKScan will remain the largest company on the chicken market.

The corporate purchase had been deferred for further discussion on 28 October 2013, and the FCCA gave its approval on 21 January 2014. The purchase was approved without condition because the legal threshold for intervention had not been crossed.