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SCA Wins EU Approval to Buy P&G's Tissue Division

Svenska Cellulosa AB (SCAB), Europe's biggest tissue maker, won European Union approval to buy Procter & Gamble's European tissue business.

Svenska Cellulosa, also known as SCA, announced the approval in a statement today. In March, the Stockholm-based company said it would acquire the unit from P&G, the largest U.S. consumer products maker, for 512 million euros ($700 million) in cash to add higher-margin branded tissues. The deadline for the ruling was extended until today for the EU to gather more information.

SCA wants to be the leader in the tissue category in Europe. The purchase gives it exclusive rights to sell Bounty kitchen towels and Charmin bathroom tissue in Europe as well as ownership of the Tempo pocket handkerchief brand, which is also sold in Hong Kong.

The EU approval requires SCA to sell the Softis brand handkerchief business in Germany and Austria that accounts for annual sales of more than 20 million euros.

SCA said the purchase will boost its market share of the tissue category in Europe to ``slightly below'' 29 percent, said Par Altan, a company spokesman reached today by telephone.

SCA fell 1.5 kronor, or 1.2 percent, to 123 kronor in Stockholm. P&G, based in Cincinnati, rose 1 cent to $65.46 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Decisions on possible restructuring of the unit and information on cost savings from combining operations will come at a later date, SCA said. The P&G division includes five factories in Europe and about 1,100 employees and had sales of about 500 million euros, the Swedish tissue maker said in March.

Procter & Gamble (PG) said then it wanted to focus on the paper towel and tissue businesses in the U.S., Canada and Mexico under the Bounty, Puffs and Charmin brands.

On Sept. 3, SCA named Boliden's Jan Johansson as its new chief executive officer with the mandate of increasing sales outside the U.S. and western Europe.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Noel at anoel@bloomberg.net; Michael Nol at mnol@bloomberg.net.

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