The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition by US company Cargill of full control of Belgian edible seed oil packer Associated Oil Packers (AOP).

AOP is currently a 50/50 joint venture between Cargill and Vandemoortele of Belgium. The deal will not significantly alter the current competitive structure of the market.

Cargill is a leading international player in a variety of agricultural businesses, such as commodities trading, the processing of grains, the production of crude seed oil and seed oil refining.

The AOP joint venture was created in 1998 through the pooling of the European edible seed oil packaging and marketing activities of Cargill and Vandermoortele (VDM). Under the present agreement notified to the Commission for regulatory clearance, Cargill will acquire VDM’s shares in AOP, therefore gaining full control of the company.

The Commission examined the extend to which the full integration of Cargill’s upstream position on the refined seed oil market and AOP’s share of packed seed oils in the Benelux, Denmark and France could trigger any competition concerns. But it concluded that the change from joint to sole control did not significantly alter the current competitive structure in the market, especially since AOP sources virtually all of its refined seed oil requirements from Cargill. The Commission has, therefore, decided not to oppose the notified transaction.