The European Commission has extended its investigation into a move from German sugar giant Südzucker to buy a stake in UK-based trader ED&F Man.

The probe into Südzucker's acquisition of an interest in ED&F Man worth 25% minus one share was due to be completed by 23 March.

However, Brussels has decided to push back the deadline to 25 April. A spokesperson for the Commission declined to comment on the reason for the change in deadline but said Südzucker and ED&F Man had agreed with the decision.

In November when the Commission announced the investigation, it said Südzucker's move to buy the size was a de-facto takeover of ED&F Man.

Südzucker is Europe's largest sugar producer, while ED&F Man is the continent's second-largest sugar trader. The Commission then said the deal "might significantly impede effective competition" and choice for European consumers and food manufacturers, raising sugar prices, despite the companies offering mitigating solutions.

Brussels noted the risk of "high combined market shares" for refined sugar, especially in Italy and Greece, and the removal of "a strong alternative supplier of molasses" in the EU.

A spokesperson for Südzucker declined to comment on the new deadline for the investigation. However, the spokesperson said the company was "still convinced" the deal will go through.