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MERGERS: AMO SR approved merger of Bolten Family and Fehrer Group

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On 22 September 2014 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, Division of Concentrations approved the merger consisting in acquisition of direct joint control of undertakings undertakings Carl Conrad Bolten, Martina Bolten, Peter Bolten and Caroline Bolten with business address in Federal Republic of Germany (hereafter “Bolten Family”) over the undertaking F.S. Fehrer GmbH & Co. KG and over the undertaking Rolf Fehrer Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, both seating in Federal Republic of Germany (hereafter „Fehrer“ and „Rolf Fehrer“).

Bolten Family controls several undertakings who are engaged in the production of technical textiles for the automobile industry, production and sale of upholstery and also in the production of polyester, which it produces for its own use. Bolten Family also acts in the production and sale of finished car seats for heavy duty vehicles, including caravans, construction vehicles and forklift trucks, in the production and sale of passenger seats for public transport (buses, trams) (together hereafter "heavy duty vehicles"), it produces equipment of special seats, spare parts for its products, and to a small extent, technical springs.

Buyers of these products include international producers of original parts equipment for the automobile industry ("OEM") and their suppliers of first to third level.

Rolf Fehrer who does not control any company is a complementary of undertaking Fehrer who controls other companies (hereafter “Fehrer Group”). Fehrer Group's management is jointly carried out by Fehrer and Rolf Fehrer.

Fehrer Group operates mainly in three major segments relating solely to passenger´s cars, namely:
1. cushions fill seats based on polyurethane foam (Fehrer Group delivers this product to customers without covering),
2. interior modules, as the center floor console, center armrest for rear seats (with controls), cantilever systems, side padding (with integrated airbag),
3. composite components, namely it is a complementary component for passenger cars made from the fiber-reinforced plastics (composites), such as ceiling panels, rear seat panels, hybrid backrest, seat shells, sliding roofs, retrofitting roofs, multifunctional storage folders for convertibles, also easy construction of seats, the buyers of the goods are international OEM and their suppliers of first level.

In the Slovak Republic Fehrer Group operates mainly through sales of company Fehrer Bohemia, a.s., the Czech Republic.

Since both Bolten Family and Fehrer Group produce cushions fill seats, in the view of horizontal assessment the Office investigated whether the activities of Bolten Family and Fehrer Group actually or potentially overlap.

The Office found that Fehrer Group almost exclusively produces cushions fill seats for passenger´s cars and Bolten Family produces these seats mainly for heavy duty vehicles and exclusively for its own use; and also for light duty vehicle only in inconsiderable extent. Given the fact, the activities of undertakings concerned do overlap actually.

In the view of possible vertical impacts of merger concerned on the competition conditions in the relevant market, the Office found that the business activities of Bolten Family and Fehrer Group have vertical links in the segment of center armrests and side paddings for passenger´s cars produced by Fehrer Group and covered by automobile textiles. No affected markets have been identified in the view of vertical assessment of merger concerned.

Evaluating all acquired documents and materials the Office concluded that the assessed merger does not infringe effective competition in the relevant market, mainly as result of creation or strengthening of dominant position and it approved the merger.

Decision came into force on 22 September 2014.