European Commission - Press release
Mergers: Commission gives clears joint venture between Aéroports de Paris and Aelia
Brussels, 21 October 2011 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by French companies Aéroports de Paris ("ADP") and Aelia of a controlling interest in a new joint venture combining the business of Duty Free Paris ("DFP") and Société de Distribution Aéroportuaire SAS ("SDA") as well as the "fashion and accessories" business of Duty Free Associates SAS ("DFA") at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports. DFA is currently exclusively controlled by Aelia, SDA is a joint venture of Aelia and ADP and DFP is a joint venture of ADP and The Nuance Group. Aelia, a company active in airport retailing, is controlled by the Lagardère group.
The Commission has found that the transaction would not significantly restrict effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA)1 or any substantial part of it
The Commission has assessed the impact of the transaction on the markets for airport retailing and for the award of concessions for retail services at airports. DFP and DFA are simultaneously present only in the airside area of the Orly-Sud terminal.
Moreover, at each of the Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles de Gaulle airports, the joint venture partners will continue to face competition from shops operated by other companies.
Besides, the companies concerned will continue to face competitive pressure from shops located at other airports, notably other airports of the EEA, as well as from shops located in the vicinity of the Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports. Indeed, for a broad range of products, travellers, and in particular frequent travellers, can compare prices at the departure, transit or return airports, and take their purchasing decisions accordingly. Similarly, a significant part of the travellers can make comparisons with prices prevailing in town.
The Commission has also found that the transaction was unlikely to encourage ADP to foreclose access to retail concessions in order to enable the shops it controls with Aelia to raise prices.
Aelia specialises in airport retailing as well as in retailing on board aircrafts, in ports and in railway stations, in France or abroad. ADP is responsible for constructing, operating and developing airport facilities located in the Ile-de-France region, particularly those at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Paris-Le Bourget airports.
DFP has as its main object the operation of shops located at the airports managed by Aéroports de Paris in the "fashion and accessories" sector. DFA has two business areas: (i) the operation of shops at various airports in France (ii) support activities for the airport retail shops of the Aelia group. SDA's main business is the operation of shops located in the airports managed by ADP.
Merger control rules and procedures
The Commission, in 1989, was given the power to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Art 1 of the Merger Regulation). Its duty is to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
A non-confidential version of today's decision will be available at:
The European Union plus Island, Liechtenstein and Norway