The EU Commission on the proposed rail merger of Siemens and the French competitor Alstom is apparently on Wednesday. The German press Agency and the Süddeutsche Zeitung consistently report, citing “informed circles” and / or EU circles. So that would be a failed large-scale project of a “Airbus of the Rail”. Details of the decision will inform EU Commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager on Wednesday.
The ICE-manufacturer, Siemens, and the TGV group Alstom wanted their rail lines merge, to become one of Europe’s largest producers and especially in the international competition, with China. The EU-Commission, however, had significant concerns that the merger would be prejudicial to the internal competition in Europe and ultimately to the consumer.
EU competition Commissioner Vestager, the project saw already in the past few weeks is critical. They demanded that Siemens and Alstom, among other things, a far-reaching sales in the signal technology and many years of licensing of technology for high-speed trains. At the end of January the two companies made in an unusual step once more concessions. There was, however, speculated that this may not be sufficient.
In the case of a Brussels veto, Alstom is planning a new start-up. “There will be no second Chance,” said Alstom’s CEO, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, the daily newspaper Le Figaro. “A Veto would be a very bad sign for the European industry.” The Alstom chief described it as a “likely” that the Commission would prohibit the merger.
France and Germany were for the Deal
The Federal government and the French government had campaigned strongly for the merger. Federal Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU), had demanded, there had to be European “Champions” in the industry, with China and the USA compete. Similar to France’s economic and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said. Altmaier also brought Changes to the EU competition law into the game.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ruled out on Tuesday, Preferential treatment in competition decisions. “We want European companies on the world market,” said Juncker. However, the Commission will grant never for political reasons advantages of. In about 30 years, the European competition authorities blocked according to Juncker less than 30 mergers, more than 6,000 of them left.