Source: ARA

The ARA Board of Directors adopted this week the following motion:

"A high percentage of the ARA board members expressed concern in a survey on crop nutrient producer consolidation and direct ARA to respond with educational efforts to ARA membership outlining the avenues for ARA members to express their opinions to the appropriate federal agencies and officials."

ARA has not taken a position on this issue, but is providing members an opportunity to voice their concerns.

The ARA Board of Directors resolution was the result of a high percentage of ARA directors expressing concern in an independent third party survey regarding further consolidation in crop nutrient production.

It remains unclear what effects further concentration, control and consolidation within the CN industry will have on CN prices, distribution access, transportation costs and competition in key marketplaces throughout the United States.

The federal government's role is to pursue potential cases of unfair competition or violations of antitrust laws. There are two basic antitrust laws in the United States - the Sherman Act (15 USC 1-8) and the Clayton Act (15 USC 12 et seq.); both are enforceable either by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or private persons alleging economic injury caused by violation of either of them. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 USC 41 et seq.) and the Robinson-Patman Act (15 USC 13) may also be utilized by the FTC and private persons. These statutes spell out the conduct and activities prohibited in economic, market transactions.

The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (15 USC 18a) requires notification of proposed mergers or acquisitions that meet certain size requirements. Notifications are submitted to both DOJ and FTC officials to determine the need for further merger review. Premerger notification involves completing an HSR Form, also called a "Notification and Report Form for Certain Mergers and Acquisitions," with information about each company's business. The parties may not close their deal until the waiting period outlined in the HSR Act has passed (usually 30 days or in the case of a cash tender offer or bankruptcy sale it is 15 days), or the government has granted early termination of the waiting period. For more information, click here.

It is important for ARA members to keep in mind that antitrust laws are concerned with the functioning of the marketplace - i.e. competition and NOT protection of any individual competitor.

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