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Commission clears Tronox to buy titanium dioxide pigment business of Cristal

6 September 2017

The Commerce Commission has granted clearance for Tronox Limited (Tronox) to purchase the titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment business of National Titanium Dioxide Company Ltd (Cristal), so far as it affects markets in New Zealand.

The proposed global merger would bring together two suppliers of TiO2 pigment. The white pigment is used to increase the brightness and durability of products such as paints, plastics, paper, inks, pharmaceuticals, fibres, and cosmetics.

Tronox and Cristal have sought clearance from a number of regulators in different countries, including New Zealand.

In making its decision, the Commission considered the impact on New Zealand markets for the supply of TiO2 produced using the chloride method of production.

Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said the Commission is satisfied the acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in New Zealand markets.

“We are satisfied that the merged entity would continue to face competition from existing competitors.”

A public version of the written reasons for the decision will be available on the Clearances Register in due course.

Background

Tronox

Tronox is a public limited chemical company incorporated in Australia and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Tronox is active in mining, production, and marketing of inorganic minerals and chemicals. It operates two vertically integrated businesses, namely TiO2 pigment and alkali chemicals. In New Zealand Tronox supplies the pigment to customers including major paint and plastic manufacturers.

Cristal

Cristal is an international chemical company incorporated in Saudi Arabia. Tronox is seeking to acquire Cristal’s five main business divisions: mining of TiO2 feedstock and zircon; manufacture of TiO2 pigment; production of titanium chemicals; production of ultrafine and speciality TiO2 pigment; and research and development of titanium powder, alloys, and related products. Tronox’s acquisition includes Cristal’s Arabian Chemical Centre manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia. Cristal also supplies customers in New Zealand including major paint and plastic manufacturers.

Merger requirements

A fact sheet explaining how the Commission assesses a merger application is available on our website.