FTC accepts CB&I's divestiture proposal to address antitrust concerns

The Federal Trade Commission on Nov. 28 approved a proposed divestiture by Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. to relieve antitrust concerns resulting from CB&I's 2001 purchase of assets from Pitt-Des Moines Inc.

The commission said that it ruled in December 2004 that CB&I's acquisition of PDM's assets was anticompetitive and violated US antitrust laws. Specifically, it found that the merger significantly reduced competition in the design and construction of storage tanks for liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and liquefied atmospheric gas, and for thermal vacuum chambers.

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the order on Jan. 25, 2008, the FTC said.

It said that CB&I, which has its headquarters in The Woodlands, Tex., submitted an application to divest certain tank business operations and assign certain contracts to Tulsa-based Matrix Service Co. The commission approved the proposed sale and also extended the term of the monitor trustee in the case for six months, it indicated.

The divestiture proposal which CB&I announced on Sept. 25 included a license to use the company's cryogenic tank technology and certain construction equipment to Matrix for an undisclosed amount. It also called for CB&I to transfer up to $20 million of US cryogenic and LNG tank service work to Matrix over several years, reassign approximately 70 construction and engineering employees to Matrix, along with procedures necessary to enhance its competitiveness in the product lines specified in the FTC's ruling.

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