Competition authority questions EMR acquisition

U.K. agency points to EMR’s potential market share in north London.

January 25, 2018
Edited by Brian Taylor

A United Kingdom government agency charged with investigating anti-competition aspects of mergers and acquisitions has expressed concern about a recently proposed acquisition in the scrap metal sector in that nation.

According to an online report by Energy Live News, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the European Metal Recycling (EMR) purchase of Metal & Waste Recycling (MWR) revealed they were the two main companies offering to buy and shred scrap metal “in the area around and to the north of London.”

Finding limited competition from other metal recyclers in that area, the agency reportedly stated, “The CMA is therefore concerned that this merger could lead to a reduction in choice, price, quality and service to customers.”

According to Energy Live News, the CMA will next recommend a more in-depth investigation “unless EMR offers acceptable undertakings to address competition concerns.”

Separately, EMR is facing potential scrutiny involving its ownership stake in a company under investigation for alleged foreign corruption activities.

According to an online report from a Zambian website, EMR holds a 49 percent ownership stake in Worlds Window, a company alleged to have “moved hundreds of millions [of dollars] in kickbacks around the world” for the family that owns the majority stake.

The Zambian amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism report indicates it has based its information on leaked documents pertaining to the Gupta family, which has built a sizable conglomerate in South Africa.

The online report states, “There is no evidence that EMR knowingly contributed to Worlds Window’s suspicious financial activity,” which allegedly includes providing “agent fees” to offshore shell companies that “helped to disperse [that] money around the world, including to businesses associated with the Gupta family in South Africa and abroad.”

In a statement provided to the amaBhungane Centre, EMR indicated it “is disturbed to hear press reports of the alleged involvement of Worlds Windows in money laundering, which we became aware of late last year through #GuptaLeaks. We are currently carefully looking at this investment as a consequence.”