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EC closes Honeywell and DuPont R1234yf antitrust investigation

Commission ends review launched in 2014 of cooperation between two companies acting as the sole manufacturers of lower GWP refrigerant

The European Commission has closed an antitrust investigation over cooperation between Honeywell and DuPont to produce the refrigerant R1234yf for use in vehicles.

A ‘Statement of Objections’ was adopted by the EC in October 2014 against Honeywell and DuPont, which now operates under the Chemours brand, over concerns that the availability and development of the refrigerant may be limited by any collaboration.

The commission argued at the time that both companies, which were the sole producers of the refrigerant, had entered into a series of agreements from 2010 around producing and developing R1234yf. The refrigerant was deemed as important due to its status as the only commercially available product of its kind with a sufficiently low global warming potential (GWP) to meet the EU’s MAC Directive that sets out standards for air conditioning systems in vehicles.

A decision to close the antitrust investigation was taken by the commission based on what it said was careful assessment of evidence and feedback from both claimants and interested third parties.

“Furthermore, on 12 April, 18 April and 6 July 2017 respectively, the three complainants in this case, Arkema, Mexichem and the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), withdrew their complaints,” said a statement from the EC. “The Commission will continue to monitor closely the chemicals market, including for the R1234yf refrigerant.”

Honeywell said the commission’s decision on closing the antitrust case served as a confirmation it has worked in full compliance with EU laws in producing and developing the refrigerant.

“Honeywell has invested nearly $1bn (£756m) to bring to market this innovative refrigerant that meets the long-term environmental needs of the automotive industry for a near drop-in, low-global-warming solution for mobile air conditioning. It has a global warming potential of less than one, which is lower than carbon dioxide and 99 per cent lower than other refrigerant technologies,” said the company. With more than 40 million cars on the road today using HFO-1234yf, it has saved over 2 million tonnes of CO2 globally - the equivalent of taking 1.2 million cars off the road annually.”

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