U.S. files antitrust lawsuit against Parker-Hannifin takeover

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit challenging Parker-Hannifin Corp's PH.N purchase of Clarcor Inc, which closed in February.

The lawsuit, brought in U.S. district court in Delaware, was filed out of concern that the $4.3 billion transaction would mean higher prices, worse service or less innovation in the market for aviation fuel filtration systems and products.

The department asked the court to order Parker-Hannifin to sell part of its aviation filtration business on grounds that it and Clarcor had been the only two U.S. manufacturers of the filtration products.

Parker-Hannifin, whose motion and control systems are used in a variety of industries, announced the deal to buy Clarcor in December.

The Justice Department said its review of the deal was hampered by Parker-Hannifin’s failure to provide documents or data that the Antitrust Division requested. The company also refused to refrain from integrating Clarcor’s fuel filtration business into Parker-Hannifin’s, the department said.

Parker-Hannifin had announced on Jan. 18 that the antitrust “waiting period” had expired the previous day. This usually means that any antitrust enforcers’ concerns are resolved.

“Parker-Hannifin’s acquisition of its only U.S. rival for these types of aviation fuel filtration products has effectively created a monopoly in these critical safety products,” Andrew Finch, the acting head of the Justice Department Antitrust Division, said in a statement.

Parker-Hannifin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Its shares ended regular trading on Tuesday down 1.6 percent at $173.97.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Susan Thomas and Andrew Hay