Brussels - The European Commission has prohibited Siemens’s proposed acquisition of Alstom under the EU Merger Regulation. The merger would have harmed competition in markets for railway signalling systems and very high-speed trains.
“Millions of passengers across Europe rely every day on modern and safe trains. Siemens and Alstom are both champions in the rail industry.”, said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy. “The parties did not offer remedies sufficient to address these concerns. Without sufficient remedies, this merger would have resulted in higher prices for the signalling systems that keep passengers safe and for the next generations of very high-speed trains. The Commission prohibited the merger because the companies were not willing to address our serious competition concerns.”
The decision follows an in-depth investigation by the Commission of the takeover, which would have combined Siemens’s and Alstom’s transport equipment and service activities in a new company fully controlled by Siemens. It would have brought together the two largest suppliers of various types of railway and metro signalling systems, as well as of rolling stock in Europe. Both companies also have leading positions globally.
The merger, writes the Commission in a note to the press, would have created the undisputed market leader in some signalling markets and a dominant player in very high-speed trains. It would have significantly reduced competition in both these areas, depriving customers, including train operators and rail infrastructure managers of a choice of suppliers and products.
The Commission let us know that they received “several complaints during its in-depth investigation, from customers, competitors, industry associations and trade unions.”