Ratcliffe claims UK ‘increasingly hostile’ to business

Ineos Grangemouth

Jim Ratcliffe, owner of Ineos Grangemouth, has criticised the UK Competition And Markets Authority’s “increasingly hostile” attitude to business.

The CMA has blocked the INEOS acquisition of a $1 billion concrete additives business from Switzerland’s Sika AG.

Ratcliffe said the CMA’s decision has resulted in the business being acquired by US owners rather than becoming “a mainstream UK business.”

Ratcliffe said: “The CMA and UK government are becoming increasingly hostile to business.

“This is yet another example of a deal being stopped that would benefit the UK and handed over to the Americans who were absolutely delighted.

“Add to this, the ridiculous North Sea windfall tax and continuing high energy costs and we are seeing a government that is driving business out of the UK.”

INEOS said and the firm and Sika jointly submitted the deal to the CMA for approval on March 7 and “received negative feedback just nine days later despite having no competing business.”

INEOS claimed: “Despite requests, the authority refused a face-to-face meeting and stuck to its initial negative position despite substantial supporting evidence submissions from INEOS.

The business was subsequently sold to an American buyer, so depriving the UK of ownership of a strong and growing business.

“INEOS believes that the government needs to take a much more positive approach to such deals to reverse the long-term decline in UK manufacturing.”

Ratcliffe added: “The CMA is building a reputation as an overly aggressive regulator with little regard for the impact of its decisions on UK business.

“Its attitude is mirrored in the lack of government support for manufacturing; whether in reviews such as this, or in our uncompetitive approach to energy policy.”