Brussels, 08 June 2001
Commission clears acquisition by Sodexho of a number of Albert Abela companies
The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition by French catering and leisure company Sodexho Alliance SA of several companies belonging to Albert Abela Corp of the United States. Of the companies being acquired, only Sogeres, which is active in contract foodservices, is active in Europe. The operation will have an impact only in the French market for contract foodservices, but even there the Commission concluded that there would remain sufficient competition from other regional and national players.
Sodexho is a world-wide player in food and management services as well as other activities. It is buying The Wood Group of the US, Abela Holdings France SA, Sogeres of France, United Caterer and Contractors (Bahrain), National Catering Company LLC (Abu Dhabi), Albert Abela Co Abu Dhabi LLC (Abu Dhabi), Oman Catering Company LLC (Sultanate of Oman), Catering and Supplies Co. LLC (Sultanate of Oman), The Kuwait Fruit and Vegetable Supplies Establishment Fahd Ahmed Fahd Al Fahd and Partners LLC (Kuwait) and Yemen Catering & Services LLC (Yemen).
The activities of Sodexho and Sogeres overlap in the supply of contract foodservices in France.
Sodexho is the leading provider of contract foodservice in France while Sogeres is a smaller player with a market share below 10%. The Commission's investigation showed that the contract foodservices market is competitive, with strong competitors, which have the ability to challenge the combined parties on a national level, as well as a large number of small local suppliers that compete on a local/regional level. In addition the market is growing and the trend for outsourcing remains strong.
In its decision, the Commission confirmed its previous view that the market for contract foodservice must be examined on a national basis.