The European Commission has approved a proposed joint-venture in which Cargill Plc and SCB Holdings (Sandy) Ltd (Banks) will combine their agricultural merchanting activities in the United Kingdom. Although the operation will merge two significant players in the UK agricultural merchanting sector, farmers across the UK will still have several merchants available locally to market their produce, the Commission reported. Competitive pressure will be exerted not only by other large merchants with nation-wide activities, such as Dalgety and Allied Grain, but also by regional competitors and co-operatives. Cargill and Banks are active in a variety of agricultural product markets. They achieve their strongest combined market shares - up to approx. 25% - in the purchase of oilseed rape in certain regional markets in the UK. Cargill, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US group Cargill Inc., is active in commodity trading, the processing and distribution of foodstuffs and in agricultural merchanting. Banks is the holding company of the agricultural merchanting business of the Banks group of companies. Banks's most significant business is agricultural merchanting in the UK, including the marketing of cereals, oilseeds and pulses grown in the UK and the supply of inputs to farmers in the UK for the production of cereals, oilseed and pulses, root crops, salads and other vegetables.