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Petition to reopen and modify final order: The Commission has received a petition from Aventis S.A. (Aventis), the successor company to Hoechst AG and Rhone-Poulenc S.A. (RP) (the respondents), to reopen and modify a final consent order regarding the 1999 merger of the two companies. Under the terms of the Commission order, which became final on January 20, 2000, Aventis was required to reduce to five percent its holdings in Rhodia, a French-based chemical company in which RP held a 67 percent share at the time of the merger. The respondents were given approximately five years to complete their sale of Rhodia shares.

In the petition, Aventis has requested that the Commission reopen the final order to modify and set aside certain sections. Specifically, it would like the FTC to release the respondents from any obligation with respect to the Rhodia shares and the conduct of Rhodia’s cellulose acetate business, due to changes that have occurred within the industry. Aventis states that the Kuwait Petroleum Company’s sales of all of its shares of Celanese to BCP Crystal Acquisition Group GmbH & Co. KG, an entity affiliated with the Blackstone group, severs the common link between Celanese and Rhodia that was the basis of the Commission's concern. Aventis therefore requests that the Commission set aside those sections of the order that requires it to divest its Rhodia shares because the Commission's remedial objective, through this changed industry condition, has already been met. Aventis also contends that these changes would be in the public interest.

The FTC is accepting public comments on the petition until January 19, 2005, after which it will decide whether to approve it. Comments should be send to: FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. (Docket No. C-3919; staff contact is Jennifer Lee, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2246; see press releases dated December 7, 1999; and August 17, August 25, September 28, and November 7, 2001; September 20, 2002; and December 3, 2003.)

Commission approval of final consent orders: The Commission has approved a final consent order concerning Buckeye Partners, L.P. and Shell Oil Company related to Shell’s sale of a package of refined petroleum product pipeline and terminal assets to Buckeye, and to send a response letter to the commenter of record. The Commission vote to approve the final order and send the letter was 5-0. (FTC File No. 041-0162; the staff contact is Phillip L. Broyles, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2805; see press release dated September 27, 2004.)

The Commission has approved a modified final consent order concerning AspenTechnology, Inc., which requires AspenTech to divest certain process engineering simulation software assets based on the FTC’s contention that its acquisition of Hyprotech, Ltd. had anticompetitive effects in several high technology markets. The Commission received several comments on the proposed consent order in this matter, and has made technical modifications based on some of the comments received. Through the action announced today, the FTC has formally approved the final order, sent response letters to the commenters of record, and approved AspenTech’s application to divest the HYSYS process engineering simulation software (as that term is defined in the order) to Honeywell International, Inc.

The Commission vote to modify the final order, approve the final order, send the letters, and approve the proposed divestiture was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour not participating. (FTC Docket No. D9310; the staff contacts are Phillip L. Broyles, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2805, and Daniel P. Ducore, Assistant Director, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see press releases dated August 7, 2003 and July 15, 2004.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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