May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Suedzucker AG won European Union approval to buy a stake in U.K. sugar trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd. after it agreed to sell ED&F’s share of Italy’s biggest sugar refinery.
Suedzuecker will sell ED&F Man’s shareholding in the plant in Brindisi as a condition of EU authorization for the $225 million deal. The move eliminates EU concerns over competition in the supply of refined sugar to the Italian food and drink industry, the European Commission said in an e-mailed statement today.
“The current high prices and scarcity of sugar across the EU make it all the more important to maintain competition on the already concentrated European sugar markets,” the EU’s antitrust chief, Joaquin Almunia, said in the statement.
Suedzucker, which makes sugar, starch and bakery additives, last year agreed to buy the stake of 25 percent minus one share in London-based ED&F Man to widen access to markets outside Europe.
Suedzuecker, based in Mannheim, and ED&F “welcome the commission’s decision” and are “prepared to accept that ED&F Man will give up its interest in a sugar refinery in Italy,” according to an e-mailed statement from Suedzuecker.
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