FTC Orders Two Bleach Wholesalers to Put an End to Non-Compete Agreement

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On January 18, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or the “Commission”) announced that it will require bleach producer Oltrin Solutions, LLC (“Oltrin”) to release its competitor, JCI Jones Chemicals, Inc. (JCI) from an agreement not to sell bleach in North Carolina and South Carolina. The non-compete agreement was part of a 2010 $5.5 million transaction between the two companies — both producers and sellers of bulk bleach. The FTC alleges that the transaction violated antitrust laws by reducing competition between Oltrin and JCI. To settle the FTC’s concerns, Oltrin and JCI have entered into a proposed consent order with the FTC, which the FTC indicates will restore competition between the two companies. The FTC’s complaint and the proposed consent order can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/01/Oltrin.shtm.

Oltrin, which is jointly owned by a subsidiary of Olin Corporation, the largest North American bleach producer, buys and resells bleach produced for merchant sale in Hamlet, North Carolina. JCI, one of the world’s leading producers and distributors of water treatment chemicals, produced bleach at its plant in Charlotte, North Carolina before the 2010 transaction with Oltrin.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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