The Ministry of Commerce has given conditional approval to the purchase of Lucite International Group by Mitsubishi Rayon under the terms of China’s Anti-monopoly Law, Dow Jones reported. The approval requires Lucite International Group to divest half of its production capacity in China, and to sell methylmethacrylate (MMA) – a compound used in the production of plastics – at cost to a Chinese third party. The combined company would control 64% of China’s MMA market. While neither company is Chinese, the Anti-monopoly Law gives China’s Ministry of Commerce the ability to rule on the mergers of foreign companies with significant business activities in China. The specific implementation of the law has extended even to companies without clearly monopolistic control of certain markets. The Ministry of Commerce recently rejected a US$2.53 billion bid by Coca-Cola for Huiyuan Juice, China’s largest juice maker, despite questionable evidence that the tie-up would have constituted a monopoly in China’s beverage market.
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