EU regulators open inquiry into Kingspan’s Trimo deal

Cavan-based company declines to comment as in-depth investigation is launched

EU competition regulators plan an in-depth investigation of Irish insulation specialist Kingspan's takeover of rival Trimo.

Kingspan said last year that it was buying Slovenian-based manufacturer Trimo from Polish investment fund Innova Capital.

The European Commission said on Tuesday that it would open an "in-depth" investigation into the deal after an initial inquiry found that the pair compete in the sale of mineral fibre insulation boards in several European countries.

EU executive vice president Margrethe Vestager pointed out that together, Kingspan and Trimo, would create by far the biggest player in Europe and the main supplier of mineral fibre panels.

“We need to ensure a healthy competitive landscape for all the businesses relying on these products to insulate their buildings,” she said.

Ms Vestager noted that the panels were used to boost insulation and energy efficiency in industrial buildings.

The commission believes that the deal could hit competition for the panels in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and the UK.

Kingspan and Trimo would have hold combined market shares in all these countries with limited competition from rivals able to offer panels of a similar quality, its statement said.

“Moreover, in most of these countries the remaining competitors would be significantly smaller than the merged entity,” the commission explained.

“The proposed transaction would thus remove an important competitive constraint for both of them.”

Brussels has jurisdiction over the UK in this case as the transaction was notified to the commission last year, before the Brexit transition period ended on December 31st.

The proposed deal was referred to the commission in October and notified on March 3rd, 2021.

Decision timescale

The commission has 90 working days, until August 20th, 2021, to make a decision.

“The opening of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation,” a statement added.

The commission assesses deals referred to it by member states to ensure that they do not hamper effective competition between businesses in the European Economic Area or a substantial part of it.

Officials have 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval under a phase one investigation or more to a more in-depth phase inquiry.

Kingspan’s shares inched 0.74 per cent up to close at €73.86 in Dublin on Tuesday following the news. The Cavan-based company did not comment.