The Commission has received an application for approval of a proposed divestiture from Valero Energy Corporation (Valero) and Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corporation (Ultramar). Under the terms of a decision and consent order reached with the FTC and announced on December 18, 2001, the companies agreed to divest certain assets subsequent to Valero's acquisition of Ultramar. Pursuant to Paragraph II.A. of the decision and order, Valero has petitioned the Commission for approval to divest its "Golden Eagle CARB Refining and Marketing Assets" to Tesoro Petroleum Corporation (Tesoro) and Tesoro's wholly owned subsidiary, Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company.
The Commission is accepting comments on the proposed divestiture until March 8, 2002, after which it will determine whether to approve the application. Comments should be sent to FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. (Docket No. C-4031; staff contact is Elizabeth A. Piotrowski, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2623; see press release dated December 18, 2001.)
Commission approval to extend duration of supply contract:
The Commission has approved the extension of a supply contract in a matter concerning Roche Holdings Ltd. (Roche). Under the terms of a final consent order reached with the FTC in 1998, Roche divested Corange Limited's (Corange) U.S. and Canadian Retavase business ("Retavase Assets") to Centocor, Inc. (Centocor). The divestiture was required to settle charges that Roche's acquisition of Corange would have eliminated competition between the two leading suppliers of cardiac thrombolytic agents (drugs used to dissolve blood clots at the onset of a heart attack). Pursuant to the terms of the Commission's order, Centocor has requested an extension of the supply contract for the Retavase Assets to complete the transfer of the divested business from Roche. The FTC's 1998 settlement with Roche required Roche to contract manufacture a supply of Retavase for the time period it takes Centocor to establish its own manufacturing processes and obtain its own U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to manufacture and sell Retavase in the United States.
Through this Commission action, Roche's supply obligation under the order is extended for two years to ensure that Centocor will be able to meet market demand until it can produce and sell its own Retavase. The Commission vote to approve extending the duration of the supply contract was 5-0. (Docket No. C-3809; staff contact is Kenneth M. Davidson, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2863; see press releases dated February 25, 1998 and May 27, 1998.)
Commission approval of independent auditor agreement:
The Commission has approved an independent auditor agreement in a matter concerning Lafarge S.A. (Lafarge) and Blue Circle Industries PLC (Blue Circle). The Commission's consent order in this matter, announced on June 18, 2001, contained an Order to Hold Separate and Maintain Assets (Hold Separate Order) that required Lafarge and Blue Circle to hold the "Great Lakes Assets" and "Lime Assets" separate from the rest of their operations until Lafarge divested these assets to Commission-approved buyers. After receiving FTC approval, Lafarge divested the "Great Lakes Assets" to S.A. Industrias Votorantim on August 1, 2001, and the "Lime Assets" to Peak Investments, L.L.C. on December 31, 2001.
Under the terms of Paragraph VI of the order, the Commission may appoint William Troutman to serve as the independent auditor for the purpose of monitoring the companies' compliance with Section IV, which concerns the assets to be divested. Through this action, the FTC indicates that it has reviewed the Auditor Agreement, determined that it is acceptable, and approved it, providing the auditor with all of the rights, powers, and authorities necessary to perform his duties under the order.
The Commission vote to approve the independent auditor agreement was 5-0. (Docket No. C-4014; staff contact is Roberta Baruch, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2861; see press releases dated June 19; August 3, August 10, and October 16, 2001, and December 11, 2001.)
Commission approval of amended complaint:
The Commission has approved the filing of an amended complaint in its federal court action against 1st Financial Solutions, Inc., et al. The Commission's original complaint in this matter, announced on November 26, 2001, alleged that several Illinois defendants offered consumers major credit cards for a hefty advance fee but never delivered the cards. The amended complaint adds two additional individual defendants and 11 new corporate defendants to the case. The amended complaint is available on the FTC's Web site. The Commission vote to approve the amended complaint was 5-0. (FTC File No. X020011; staff contact is John C. Hallerud, FTC Midwest Region - Chicago, 312-960-5634; see press release dated November 26, 2001.)
Commission approval of final consent order:
Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved a final consent order in the matter concerning INA-Holding Schaeffler KG and FAG Kugelfischer Georg Schafer AG. The Commission vote to approve the final order was 4-0, with Chairman Timothy J. Muris not participating. (FTC File No. 021-0002; staff contact is Nick Koberstein, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2743; see press release dated December 20, 2001.)
Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.