According to the Belgian newspaper De Tijd, the Belgian ‘Raad voor Mededinging’ (Belgian government body that is responsible for antitrust investigations) has raided the local office of Nobel in Vilvoorde (Belgium) last week, and possibly other players as well, as part of an investigation of possible anti-competitive behaviour in the Belgian decorative paints market. The raid has been confirmed to us by Nobel.
According to De Tijd, the plaintiff in this case is Durieu (Rieu Investments), which took over the DeKeyn and Linitop brands in Belgium in 2008 as well as obtained a five year license to sell the Sadolin brand in Belgium. The divestment of the DeKeyn and Linitop brands was part of the commitment package Nobel agreed with the European Commission in order to get approval for the takeover of British ICI.
So far there appears to only have been an investigation, no formal accusation. We remind that did not disclose precise financials on DeKeyn and Linitop when these brands were sold in 2008. It appears for now that this case is an isolated one and hence we would expect the potential impact to be fairly limited. We stick to our Accumulate rating and € 55 target price for now.