German Siemens and French Alstom have proposed new concessions to the European Commission in order to overcome the pitfalls on the part of the European supervisors to the merger of their respective railway businesses, on which Brussels decided to open an in-depth investigation last summer which will be resolved no later than February 18th.
The industrial groups have pointed out that the “modification” of the concessions proposed to Brussels with respect to those initially offered on December 12 maintains the economic and industrial value of the transaction.
“Since the first proposal submitted to the European Commission last 12th of December, Siemens and Alstom have continued the dialogue with the Commission and have decided to further modify the concessions offered in response to the concerns raised in the market tests,” the companies noted in a statement.
In this sense, the European manufacturers defend that the package of measures “preserves the economic and industrial value of the agreement”, including the order of magnitude of the volume of sales reported previously.
“There is, however, no certainty that the content of this package will be sufficient to alleviate the concerns of the Commission,” the companies indicated, awaiting a decision on this matter which will be determined at the latest on February 18.
A few days ago, the Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Frenchman Pierre Moscovici, said that the European Commission will not be “naive” when making a decision on the merger of the railway operations of Siemens and its French rival Alstom, while guaranteed that it will be taken with objective criteria and not through “ideological aspects”.
In December 2018, the Competition Commissioner, the Danish Margrethe Vestager, acknowledged that their services remain “concerned” about the impact on the European high speed of the purchase of Alstom by Siemens, an operation that has been investigating since July on suspicion that it could reduce competition in the supply of various types of trains and signaling systems.
“It is correct to say that we are concerned about the high-speed rail sector,” the commissioner said.
The European Commission opened in July an in-depth investigation into the purchase of Alstom by Siemens on suspicion that the operation could reduce competition in the supply of various types of trains and signaling systems, as reported in a statement.
In particular, Brussels believes that the transaction could lead to an increase in prices, less freedom of choice and innovation as a result of “reduced competitive pressure” in tenders for rolling stock and signaling solutions, which would be to the detriment of train operators, infrastructure managers and, ultimately, European passengers who use trains and subways on a daily basis.