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Brussels, 12 th June 2009

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of joint control of DFDS by DSV and Vesterhavet

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of joint control over DFDS by DSV and Vesterhavet, all of Denmark. DFDS is currently solely controlled by Vesterhavet. DSV is the leading freight forwarder in Scandinavia, and DFDS is the leading shipping company providing Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping services in Northern Europe (North Sea and Baltic Sea). Ro-Ro services are an important input for freight forwarding in Scandinavia. The Commission's initial market investigation indicated that the proposed acquisition could significantly impede effective competition because of potential adverse effects on other freight forwarders in terms of price and access to some Ro-Ro shipping services routes and so raises serious doubts as to its compatibility with the Single Market. A decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days (until 19 October 2009) to take a final decision on whether the concentration would significantly impede effective competition within the EEA or a substantial part of it.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "We must ensure that freight forwarders will continue to have access to transport on Ro-Ro vessels, so that final customers will not suffer price increases."

Vesterhavet, which is fully owned by JL-Fondet (Denmark), is the shareholding parent company of the shipping company J. Lauritzen A/S (Lauritzen) and of DFDS. Lauritzen is active in ocean transport and ship management and support services.

DSV is active in freight forwarding and contract logistic services. The DSV group offers a worldwide network of sea and air freight and a European-wide network of road freight forwarding.

DFDS operates a short sea transport network in Northern Europe. It is active in Ro-Ro shipping services in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. It is also active in freight forwarding through its subsidiaries Speedcargo and Halléns.

After a preliminary review, the Commission identified serious competition concerns regarding the proposed transaction. Ro-Ro shipping services are an important input for freight forwarding in Scandinavia. The proposed acquisition would give rise to vertical competition concerns, as DSV, the leading freight forwarder in Scandinavia, would acquire joint control over the leading provider of Ro-Ro shipping services on several corridors in Northern Europe.

The Commission's in-depth investigation will focus, inter alia, on assessing whether the transaction would increase the costs of, or limit the access to, Ro-Ro shipping services for other freight forwarders, and as a consequence, harm consumers.

During the preliminary investigation, DSV and Vesterhavet submitted a set of undertakings aimed at removing the competition concerns identified by the Commission. However, these undertakings proved insufficient to eliminate the competition concerns identified.

More information on the case will be available at:

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