Dutch chemical group Akzo Nobel NV won conditional approval from the European Commission on Friday for its 8 billion pound ($16.3 billion) acquisition of Britain's ICI to create the world's biggest paint maker.
The EU executive said in a statement that Akzo had agreed "to divest activities in the UK, Ireland and Belgium as well as a shareholding in the adhesives manufacturer Purbond AG".
The Commission said its investigation had initially found the deal posed serious competition problems for the decorative coatings markets in Britain, Ireland and Belgium.
It also found problems across the 30-nation European Economic Area in the market for industrial adhesives used in engineered wood.
Akzo Nobel makes healthcare products, coatings, adhesives and chemicals. ICI produces coatings and adhesives, specialty starches, polymers and electronic materials.
In Britain and Ireland, Akzo will sell essentially all of its decorative coatings activities. In Belgium, Akzo will sell some decorative coating brands. It will also sell its stake in Purbond, which makes adhesives for engineered wood.
The deal between Akzo and Imperial Chemical Industries was approved by shareholders in early November.
Buying ICI will give Akzo a market-leading position in paint as well as allowing it to retain its lead in industrial coatings, under threat from US group PPG Industries.
The combined Akzo-ICI group will have about 15 per cent of the world's $85 billion-a-year coatings industry, compared with about 10 per cent for PPG-SigmaKalon, and will boost Akzo's position in North America and fast-growing emerging markets. (REUTERS)