Announced Action for December 5, 2003

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Commission receipt of petition to reopen and set aside consent order: The Commission has received a petition from Sasol North America, Inc. (Sasol), formerly Vista Chemical Company and CONDEA Vista Company (collectively, Vista), requesting that the Commission reopen and set aside an FTC consent order entered in June 1991, and finalized on November 13, 1991. Under the terms of the final order, RWE Aktiengesellschaft (RWE) agreed to grant a license for the technology used to produce its high-purity alcohol process alumina (HPA), and to establish a joint venture to help the licensee launch independent production facilities for high-purity alumina production. The final order settled charges that RWE’s acquisition of Vista would substantially lessen competition in the world market for HPA.

Through its petition, which is available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release, Sasol contends that the respondents have fully complied with their obligations under the consent order and that all of the annual reporting obligations have ended. In addition, Sasol contends that the structure of the HPA market has changed dramatically since the consent order was negotiated and that since 1999, the market for HPA has remained intensely competitive, with Sasol’s average price remaining below the level that prevailed before the acquisition. Accordingly, Salol has requested that the Commission reopen and set aside the final order, as it contends there is no longer a need to maintain a competitor in the HPA market.

The Commission is accepting public comments on the petition for 30 days, until January 5, 2004, after it which will decide whether to approve it. Comments should be sent to: FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. (FTC File No.911-0040, Docket No. C-3349; staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see press release dated June 7, 1991.)

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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