The combined company would make products including spring rolls

The combined company would make products including spring rolls

The European Commission has referred the proposed merger between Dutch frozen snack makers Royaan and Ad Van Geloven to competition authorities in the Netherlands.

The companies, both owned by private-equity firms, make products ranging from croquettes to spring rolls, but Brussels yesterday (16 January) warned of the impact the deal could have on competition in the Dutch frozen snacks sector.

"After a preliminary investigation, the Commission found that this part of the proposed transaction would threaten to significantly affect competition in the market for frozen snacks in the Netherlands. Those aspects will now be examined by the Dutch Competition Authority under national law," the Commission said.

Royaan and Ad van Geloven, which are both owned by private-equity firms, notified Brussels of their plans to merge in November.

The two companies supply retail and foodservice customers in the Netherlands and Belgium with brands including Ad van Geloven's Welten and Royaan's Van Dobben.

The proposed deal was set to create a company with annual sales of around EUR246m (US$314.2m). The two private-equity owners NPM Capital, which owns Royaan, and Lion Capital, the owner of Ad van Geloven, were due to become shareholders in the combined company.

Brussels has cleared the Belgian part of the merger after finding the enlarged group would still face enough competition.

However, the Netherlands will have to investigate how the deal will affect competition in its frozen snacks sector.