European Commission investigates Brazilian juice merger bid

European Commission investigates Brazilian juice merger bid

The European Commission has launched a formal probe into a planned joint venture involving two of the world’s largest orange juice manufacturers – Brazil’s Votorantim and Fischer.

An initial Commission investigation found “potential competition concerns” in the European Union (EU) regarding orange juice and related oils and essences. Both Brazilian companies can comment and try to negotiate terms with the Commission during the formal inquiry.

A final decision on the deal is expected by 19 May.

EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia said the deal “would combine two of the four main suppliers of orange juice to Europe and we need to make sure that European consumers will not be adversely affected." Both companies wholesale orange juice to European drinks producers selling branded and retailer own-label juice. A joint-venture could raise prices, it is feared.