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CMA finds concerns in Waterlogic and Culligan merger

  • CMA finds concerns in Waterlogic and Culligan merger
  • The CMA has found that the anticipated purchase of Waterlogic by Culligan could lead to a loss of competition in the supply of multifunctional taps to business customers in the UK.

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Culligan (mainly through its Zip brand) is the leading supplier of multifunctional taps to business customers – such as offices – in the UK. Waterlogic (through its Billi brand) is one of Culligan’s main competitors.

Unlike traditional taps, multifunctional taps can provide chilled, hot or boiling and, depending on the model, sparkling water. They offer an easy-to-use solution for businesses, that want to provide drinking water solutions in the workplace that are better for the environment than disposable bottles.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned that this merger would leave just three large suppliers of multifunctional taps to business customers in the UK, which could lead to higher prices or lower quality of service.

Culligan, the innovative brand in consumer-focused sustainable water solutions and services, and Waterlogic, a global designer, manufacturer, distributor and service provider of purified drinking water dispensers, signed a definitive agreement to combine and create a leader in clean and sustainable drinking water solutions and services in December 2021.

Sorcha O’Carroll, CMA Senior Director of Mergers, said:

"Multifunctional taps are an increasingly popular option for employers who need to make drinking water readily available to employees and want to reduce waste. By removing a key player that offers this product, this deal could lead to higher costs to businesses and lower quality service.

"If the merging businesses can offer a suitable way to address this issue, then we won’t need to move to a more in-depth investigation."

Culligan and Waterlogic have now 5 working days to submit proposals to address the CMA’s competition concerns. If suitable proposals are not submitted, the deal will be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

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