Knauf’s acquisitions of USG and AWI conditionally approved

28 March 2019

The ACCC will not oppose Knauf’s proposed acquisitions of USG and Armstrong World Industries after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking from Knauf to divest assets.

The ACCC’s review focused on competition for the supply of plasterboard, joint plaster compounds and treatments, metal profiles, fixed and modular suspended ceilings and insulation. 

USG has a presence in Australia through a joint venture with Boral, which competes closely with Knauf and also with Armstrong World Industries. The undertaking requires Knauf to divest USG’s interest in this joint venture, either entirely or just in Australasia, to a buyer approved by the ACCC. If divestiture of the joint venture interest is not achieved within a certain period, Knauf has agreed to divest certain other assets.

“The transactions raised some significant concerns as it would lead to Knauf owning a 50 per cent stake in the joint venture, which is a significant competitor in several markets, including markets with limited alternatives for customers,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“The proposed divestment has addressed these concerns. Divestment will ensure continued competition for the building products that the parties supply, and we therefore believe that the acquisitions would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any market.”

The acquisitions involve global transactions, and each acquisition is subject to review by different international competition agencies.

Further information is available at Gebr. Knauf KG - proposed acquisition of USG Corporation and Armstrong World Industries Pty Ltd.

Background 

Knauf is a manufacturer and supplier of building products, headquartered in Germany. In Australia, it supplies plasterboards and related products such as plaster compounds and metal profiles, fixed and modular suspended ceilings (used in offices and large residential buildings) and insulation products.

USG is a manufacturer and supplier of building products, headquartered in the United States. It has a presence in Australia through its joint venture with Boral. In Australia, it also supplies plasterboards and related products such as plaster compounds and metal profiles, fixed and modular suspended ceilings, and insulation products.

AWI is a manufacturer of ceilings and walls, headquartered in the United States. It supplies modular suspended ceilings in Australia. Unlike Knauf and USG, it does not have any manufacturing facilities in Australia.

Release number: 
42/19
ACCC Infocentre: 

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