UPM-Kymmene Wins EU Approval to Buy Myllykoski, Rhein Papier

UPM-Kymmene Oyj, Europe’s second-biggest papermaker, won European Union approval to buy Myllykoski Oyj and Rhein Papier GmbH, regulators said.

The European Commission said an in-depth probe showed that customers would continue to have sufficient suppliers for magazine paper and other products, it said in an e-mailed statement today.

“I’m satisfied that there will remain sufficient competition after the acquisition,” said EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

Helsinki-based UPM is aiming to expand as a “cost-competitive pulp producer,” it said last month. Papermakers are under pressure to combine as costs rise for pulp, wood and recycled paper and demand for paper slows with more consumers turning to digital versions of books, magazines and newspapers.

EU approval means “UPM has obtained all required regulatory clearances for the transaction” and may close the deal by early August, the company said in a statement today.

The Finnish papermaker said earlier it expects its purchase of Finland’s Myllykoski and Germany’s Rhein Papier to generate annual cost savings of more than 100 million euros ($141 million) from 2012. Myllykoski and Rhein, controlled by the same shareholders, have seven publication-paper mills in Germany, Finland and the U.S.

UPM rose as much as 5.4 percent to 12.35 euros. They traded up 3.4 percent at 12.12 euros at 1:53 p.m. in Helsinki.

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