Mexico's Comex sues Sherwin-Williams over failed takeover

MEXICO CITY, May 14 (Reuters) - Mexican paint company Consorcio Comex said on Wednesday it was suing Sherwin-Williams over the U.S. paint maker’s failed attempt to acquire it, arguing that the U.S. company had not tried hard enough to honor a deal struck between the two.

Sherwin-Williams said in November 2012 it had signed an agreement to purchase Comex for $2.34 billion, but the deal was rejected twice by Mexico’s federal competition watchdog on the grounds it would create unfair market conditions.

Mexico’s Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) said the tie-up would create a company with around 50 percent of Mexico’s paint market which would make it eight times bigger than its nearest competitor.

After the second rejection last October, Sherwin-Williams had until March 31 to change the offer, but its efforts to get the approval of COFECE in that period were “well below” the standards set out in the purchase agreement, Comex said.

Comex said it had asked for the International Chamber of Commerce to arbitrate in its dispute with Sherwin-Williams, which terminated the purchase agreement in April.

A family-owned company founded in the 1950s, Comex is seeking unspecified damages in the case. A spokesman for the company could not immediately say how much Comex hoped to win.

Sherwin-Williams did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Dave Graham and Tomas Sarmiento, editing by G Crosse)