Blackstone, Celanese offer concessions in bid for EU okay for tow merger

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Private equity firm Blackstone's BX.N and U.S. specialty material company Celanese CE.N have offered concessions in an attempt to address EU antitrust concerns over the planned merger of their acetone tow units.

The companies submitted their proposal on Feb. 26, a filing on the European Commission website showed on Tuesday.

The EU competition authority, which did not provide details in line with its policy, extended the deadline for its decision to April 26 from April 5.

The deal will combine the world’s No. 2 and 3 players, making it the market leader in the supply of cellulose acetate tow, the material used in cigarette filters.

Celanese said on Jan. 8 that the Commission had sent it a statement of objections, a charge sheet which lists regulatory concerns which could lead to a veto of the deal if companies do not provide concessions.

The Commission opened a full-scale investigation in October last year, saying the deal might reduce competition as the other two major rivals, Eastman and Daicel, may be unable to compete against the new entity.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Jason Neely