Publication of the May 1999 Commission decision
concerning the proposed merger between Sanofi, controlled by the
Elf-Aquitaine group, and Synthelabo controlled by the l’Oréal
group. The new entity will be called Sanofi-Synthelabo.
On 15 March 1999, this operation was authorised by
a Commission decision. Subsequently, the Commission received 5
complaints from interested third parties. The complaints referred
to the competitive consequences of this merger in the field of
morphine and stupefying active substances (SAS). The Commission
requested information from the parties on this point. The parties
confirmed that they omitted to mention in their February 1999
notification the fact that together they had a monopoly on
stupefying active substances.
In the present decision, the Commission cleared the
operation subject to the fulfilment of commitments made by the
companies to resolve possible competition problems in the field of
SAS. Synthelabo will be divested of its activities in this area
which generates a turnover of little more than EUR 3 million.
Synthelabo immediately notified the French authorities of its
decision to withdraw from the authorisation of production and
commercialisation of these substances. This commitment removed the
overlap between the companies’ activities in this field, and
led to clearance by the Commission. (Case n° COMP/M.1397, Decision
of 17 May 1999).