German-based industrial filter manufacturer Mann + Hummel announced its planned acquisition of the global filtration operations (excluding South America operations) of Affinia Group in August 2015. The two companies both supply on- and off-road filter products, such as air, oil, and gas filters for passenger cars, as well as other filter products. Mann + Hummel is known for its MANN-FILTER and Purolator brands, while Affinia is known for WIX and Filtron brands of filters.
After clearance in all other jurisdictions requiring review, including obtaining clearance in the initial HSR waiting period in the United States with the assistance of Compass Lexecon economists Janusz Ordover, Rick Flyer and Colleen Loughlin, Poland’s Competition Authority required a Phase II review, one of the first under amendments to the Polish Competition and Consumer Protection Act which came into effect in January 2015. Affinia has a substantial presence in Poland with a plant in Gostyn, Poland.
Evidence was submitted to Polish regulators showing intense global competition for the supply of filters, with current extensive trade within the EU and Poland, as well as the complementary nature of Mann + Hummel and Affinia filters in Poland. Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) concluded in a statement posted on the agency’s website that “[t]he concentration would not adversely affect competition. If prices increase or sales conditions deteriorate on the Polish market, the country’s filter distributors will have no problem importing products from other EU-based manufacturers, which command significant market power and would be able to compete capably with Mann + Hummel.”
Compass Lexecon team including Janusz Ordover, Colleen Loughlin, Otto Hansen, Agustina Levy and David Pauwels assisted Katarzyna Terlecka and Krzysztof Lesniak of the Schoenherr law firm, Dr. Matthias Karl and Dr. Johannes Hertfelder of Gleiss Lutz, Lisl J. Dunlop of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and Joseph G. Krauss, Magdalena Kowara and Robert Gago of Hogan Lovells LLP.