Announced Actions for October 18, 1996

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Commission action regarding applications for approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has ruled on an application for approval of a transaction from the following entity.

  • The FTC has granted an application from Praxair, Inc., of Danbury, Connecticut, to divest to AGA Gas, Inc., of Independence, Ohio, four industrial gas producing facilities located in Bozrah, Connecticut; Madison, Wisconsin; Irwindale, California; and Vacaville, California. Divestiture of these plants was required under an April 1996 FTC consent order designed to restore competition in certain merchant atmospheric gases production markets following Praxair's acquisition of CBI Industries, Inc. (See Jan. 11, 1996 news release for more details regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3648; Commission vote on Oct. 15, 1996, to approve the divestiture was 5-0.) Staff contact is Daniel Ducore, 202-326-2526.

Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final a consent agreement with the following entities (the Commission action makes the consent order binding on the respondents):

  • the German firm Fresenius AG, and its Walnut Creek, California-based subsidiary, Fresenius USA, Inc., settling charges that their proposed acquisition of National Medical Care, Inc. would violate antitrust laws by combining two significant producers of a hemodialysis concentrate and thereby substantially reducing competition for the product, which is used in hemodialysis treatment for patients with chronic kidney failure. The settlement requires Fresenius to divest its Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, hemodialysis concentrate production facility to Di-Chem, Inc., of Maple Grove, Minnesota, or to another Commission-approved acquirer if the Di-Chem deal falls through. Pending divestiture, Fresenius must maintain the marketability, viability, and competitiveness of the facility. (See July 25, 1996 news release for more details regarding the consent agreement; Docket No. C-3689; Commission vote on Oct. 15, 1996 to finalize the consent order was 4-1, with Commissioner Roscoe B. Starek, III, dissenting. In his dissenting statement, Starek said there is insufficient evidence in the case to show that the acquisition is likely to lessen competition substantially. He stated that the product is easily formulated, producers can expand their capacity quickly, new producers have entered the industry easily, and the less stringent medical device FDA regulations that are applicable to this product mean that regulatory delay does not significantly restrain entry. "[W]hen the evidence on entry, expansion, and the absence of anticompetitive effects is as clear as in this case, the issuance of a consent order is unwarranted," he concluded.) Staff contact is Howard Morse, 202-326-2949.

Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.; 202-326-2222;TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases, related documents and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at:

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