Announced Action for January 17, 2003

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The Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice announcing changes in the two threshold figures that define when it is unlawful for an individual to serve as an officer or director of two or more competing corporations. Under the new thresholds, effective immediately, Section 8 of the Clayton Act is applicable to such arrangements (with certain exceptions) if each of two companies has capital, surplus, and undivided profits in excess of $18,919,000, and the competitive sales of each corporation exceed $1,891,900.

As detailed in the notice, which is posted on the Commission’s Web site, Section 8 of the Clayton Act charges the FTC with preventing and eliminating unlawful interlocking directorates. A 1990 amendment to Section 8 requires the FTC to adjust the thresholds that trigger the prohibition – originally set at $10 million and $1 million, respectively – each year, based on the change in the Gross National Product. The Commission vote to adjust the threshold levels and announce the changes in the Federal Register was 5-0. (FTC File No. P859910; staff contact is James Mongoven, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2879.)

The Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice regarding a petition submitted by the Dow Chemical Company (Dow) to establish a new generic fiber subclass name and definition under the Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (Textile Rules). Through the notice, which will be published shortly and is now available on the FTC’s Web site, the Commission is announcing that it is amending the Textile Rules to establish a new olefin fiber subclass name and definition for "CEF," a synthetic fiber Dow manufactures.

The notice summarizes the statutory and regulatory framework for amending the Rules along with the procedural history of this matter, describes the CEF fiber (which will be named "lastol") and the FTC’s solicitation of comments via a May 2002 notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register, and explains why Dow’s application has been approved. It also states that the amendment is effective as of the date the Federal Register notice is published, and provides the amended text as it will appear in the Code of Federal Regulations (16 CFR Part 303). The Commission vote to approve publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0. (FTC File No. P948404; staff contact is Neil J. Blickman, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3038; see press release dated May 21, 2002).

Commission approval of application

The Commission has approved an application from Solvay S.A. (Solvay) concerning Solvay’s recent acquisition of Ausimont S.p.A. (Ausimont.). Under the terms of the consent order issued to resolve concerns regarding the Ausimont acquisition, Solvay is required to divest certain assets. In its application, announced by the Commission on November 26, 2002, the company petitioned the Commission to approve the proposed divestiture of its "Fluropolymers Business" and the "Solvay VF2 (vinylidene) Joint Venture Businesses" (as those terms are defined in the order) to Dyneon LLC, a Delaware company that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the 3M Company. Through the action announced today, the Commission has approved these divestitures by a vote of 5-0. (FTC File No. 021-0067, Docket No. C-4046; staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see press releases dated May 2 and November 26, 2002.)

Commission approval of final consent order:

Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved the issuance of a final consent order in the matter concerning the National Academy of Arbitrators. The Commission vote to approve the final consent order was 5-0. (FTC File No. 011-0242; staff contact is L. Barry Costilo, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2024; see press release dated December 3, 2002.)

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