Greenberg Traurig's Warsaw office has successfully represented Smithfield Foods in antitrust proceedings before the European Commission and Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection related to its acquisition of control over the Pini Polonia slaughterhouse.
Smithfield Foods, based in the USA, is a global pork producer. In Poland, the company controls, among others, Animex Foods: a Polish meat company specializing in the production of pork and poultry meat and other met products.
Pini Polonia belongs to the Pini capital Group, which owns companies in Italy and Hungary.
According to GT, “the unconditional approval of the antitrust authority represents a green light for Smithfield Foods to take control over Pini Polonia – the largest and most modern pig slaughterhouse and pork cutting plant in Poland.”
Due to the size of the participants' turnover, the transaction was originally notified to the European Commission, but after conducting proceedings, the European Commission referred the case to Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) as the planned concentration only impacts the Polish meat market and it found that the OCCP has sufficient knowledge and experience to investigate the state of competition on the market.
In the course of proceedings, Smithfield Foods persuaded the OCCP that the transaction would not restrict competition on the market.
The OCCP made its decision only after conducting proceedings in the so-called "second phase," intended for particularly complicated concentrations. GT reports that during the proceedings it was necessary to carry out extensive market research to collect economic data regarding the case. As part of the research, the OCCP sent requests for information to almost 180 market participants. The analysis covered, among others, commercial relations on the market of meat production, processing and sales, as well as the market position of all the parties to the concentration and other enterprises. As stated in the OCCP’s announcement, "analysis of the effects of the concentration has shown that it will not restrict competition. Smithfield Foods will have to compete with other slaughterhouses, therefore, there is no reason to fear that entrepreneurs will lower purchase prices of livestock, especially as prices on the domestic market are transparent.”
The GT team was led by Partner Robert Gago, supported by Senior Associates Radoslaw Pawluk and Ewa Tabor-Maciejewska and Associates Marta Kownacka and Tomasz Denko.
Editor's Note: On May 30, 2019, Greenberg Traurig announced that it had advised Smithfield Foods "on finalizing the acquisition of the remaining 66.5% of shares of Pini Polonia." According to Greenberg Traurig, "completion of this transaction means that Smithfield Foods’ Polish assets will now include the entire Polish business previously owned by the Pini family, i.e. Pini Polska and Hamburger Pini, both operating within the processed pork meat industry, Royal Chicken (greenfield investment project) and Pini Polonia."
Greenberg Traurig's team was led by Partner Michal Fereniec, with Partner Robert Gago responsible for merger clearance aspects. Strategic supervision of the transaction was carried out by Senior Partner Lejb Fogelman.