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Siemens + Alstom: More concessions to EC

Written by Keith Barrow, Senior Editor, International Railway Journal
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Alstom railcar manufacturing plant, Hornell, N.Y. William C. Vantuono photo.

Siemens and Alstom confirmed in a statement Jan. 28 that they have offered further concessions to the European Commission (EC) in a bid to gain approval of their merger.

“Since the first remedy proposal made on Dec. 12, 2018 to the European Commission, Siemens and Alstom have continued the dialogue with the Commission and have decided to further modify the remedies so as to answer the concerns raised by the feedback from the market testing,” the companies said. “This package preserves the industrial and economic value of the deal—the order of magnitude of concerned sales communicated previously (i.e. around 4% of the sales of the combined entity) remaining unchanged.”

The EC is expected to decide by Feb. 18 whether the proposed measures adequately address its concerns about the planned transaction, although Reuters reported on Jan. 28 that a decision could be announced as early as Feb. 6.

European Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager warned in December that the merger could damage competition in the market for high-speed rolling stock. “It is right to say that we have concerns on very-high-speed trains because it is very important for Europe to develop also when it comes to high-speed trains,” Vestager said at a Dec. 18 press conference in Brussels. “For us, it is very important to get the market response.”

Last month, competition authorities from Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands and Spain voiced their concerns over the merger, warning in a joint letter to the commission that the combination could have a detrimental impact on the rail equipment markets in their respective countries.

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