The Federal Trade Commission has approved Shell Oil Company's plan to divest its polypropylene business to Union Carbide Corporation. The deal involves the transfer to Union Carbide of all assets necessary to operate the business, as well as the rights to certain patents, licenses, research, and other necessary agreements, and the rights to the "SHAC" trademark for Shell Oil's polypropylene technology. In addition, Shell Oil will sell polypropylene monomer to Union Carbide, for three years, using prices, terms and conditions no less favorable than those on which Shell Oil sells it to Montell Polyolefins, a joint venture between Shell and Montedison S.p.A. Shell Oil is based in Houston, Texas; Union Carbide is based in Danbury, Connecticut.
The divestiture was required under a 1995 consent order reached by the FTC with Montedison and the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, the world's largest polypropylene producers, among other entities. The consent order settled charges that the formation of Montell could substantially reduce competition in several polypropylene and polypropylene-related production and licensing markets, and reduce U.S. export sales.
Polypropylene is used in a wide variety of consumer goods, including playground equipment, storage containers and toys. Total U.S. polypropylene sales are approximately $4 billion a year, according to industry trade sources.
The Commission vote to approve the divestiture was 5-0.
Copies of the Commission's letter of approval, as well as the consent order, are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580: 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it happens, call the FTC's NewsPhone at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other documents also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC Docket No. C-3580)