The Federal Trade Commission has issued an administrative complaint challenging Arch Coal Inc.’s (Arch) proposed acquisition of all the assets of Triton Coal Company, L.L.C. (Triton) from New Vulcan Coal Holdings, L.L.C. The Commission’s complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition would make anticompetitive coordination more likely among the remaining coal producers in Wyoming’s Southern Powder River Basin (SPRB).
Similar to the allegations in a complaint seeking a preliminary injunction filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on April 1, 2004, the administrative complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition would:
- Combine two of the four leading producers of SPRB coal, substantially increase concentration in the SPRB market, and result in a highly concentrated SPRB market, eliminate the existing substantial competition between Arch and Triton, and substantially reduce competition in the SPRB market;
- Combine the two firms that hold the principal sources of excess capacity in the SPRB and bring under Arch’s control the principal source of excess capacity for production of 8800 Btu SPRB coal;
- Combine two among only four producers in Tier 1 of the SPR, substantially increase concentration in 8800 Btu SPRB coal, result in high concentration among 8800 coal producers, eliminate the existing substantial competition between Arch and Triton and substantially reduce competition in 8800 Btu SPRB coal; and
- Increase the likelihood of coordination in the market for SPRB coal – a market that is already susceptible to coordination.
The complaint filed on April 1 asked the federal court to prevent the companies from closing their transaction until the FTC is able to complete its formal examination of the proposed acquisition in the proceeding that was initiated by today’s administrative complaint. The vote to issue the administrative complaint was 5-0, with Commissioner Thomas B. Leary issuing a separate statement that is available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this release.
Copies of the complaint will be available soon 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, DC 20580. The FTC’s Bureau of Competition seeks to prevent business practices that restrain competition. The Bureau carries out its mission by investigating alleged law violations and, when appropriate, recommending that the Commission take formal enforcement action. To notify the Bureau concerning particular business practices, call or write the Office of Policy and Evaluation, Room 394, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Washington, DC 20580, Electronic Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Telephone (202) 326-3300. For more information on the laws that the Bureau enforces, the Commission has published “Promoting Competition, Protecting Consumers: A Plain English Guide to Antitrust Laws,” which can be accessed at http://www.ftc.gov/bc/compguide/index.htm
(FTC File No.: 031-0191)
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