Norwegian meat producer Nortura has had its move to acquire slaughterhouse assets from local peer Prima Gruppen blocked by the country’s competition authority.
Nortura said yesterday (21 August) Norway’s Competition Authority had announced an “intervention” in the deal. Local press reports suggest the watchdog was concerned about what the acquisition could mean for the quality, price and range of meat goods for consumers.
“We are obviously disappointed,” said Nortura CEO Arne Kristian Kolberg.
Nortura has fifteen days to appeal the decision. A spokesperson for the firm said: “We will use the next days to go over the document we have received from them regarding this.” However, the spokesperson would not discuss what the decision – should the deal have to be scrapped – would mean for the business.
Prima owner Anbjørn Øglend said: “Based on the dialogue we have had with the Competition Authority over the past months this is surprising and disappointing.”
Øglend claimed it was “puzzling” the ruling came with the Norwegian government increasing its focus on grocery prices in Norway. “It is exactly this type of trans action that the food industry can implement to reduce costs,”
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When Nortura announced the proposed deal in April, it said it hoped the move would “generate significant cost and revenue synergies”.
“The agreement will lead to lower investment costs associated with the construction of new facilities, higher productivity [and] lower unit cost,” it said at the time. Nortura also said benefits included faster distribution across the country of a more diverse product range.