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European Commission - Press release

Mergers: Commission approves creation of joint venture in Belgium between Volkswagen Financial Services and D’Ieteren

Brussels, 20 December 2011 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture between Volkswagen Financial Services AG ("VWFS") and the Belgian company s.a. D'Ieteren n.v. for the provision of financial services related to the sale of Volkswagen group vehicles on the Belgian market. The Commission concluded that the creation of the joint venture, to be known as Volkswagen D’Ieteren Finance SA ("VDFin"), would not raise competition concerns because the proposed transaction will not significantly alter the market structures and the merged entity will face competition from other players.

The Commission examined the proposed transaction's effects on the markets for the supply of operating and financial leasing products in Belgium as VDFin's activities would overlap with those of another company, LeasePlan Corporation, which is jointly-controlled by Volkswagen (see M.5568). The Commission found that a sufficient number of players were active on the markets concerned to maintain effective competition.

The Commission also examined the vertical relationship between Volkswagen's activities as a motor vehicle manufacturer and the activities of D'Ieteren and VDFin on the downstream markets for the distribution and sale of these vehicles. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not lead to a significant change in the structure of these markets in Belgium and that no competition concerns would arise.

The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA)1 or any substantial part of it.

The transaction was notified to the Commission on 16 November 2011.

Background on companies

VWFS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG which is a publicly traded German company principally engaged in the development, manufacture, sale and distribution of motor vehicles (including spare parts and accessories). VWFS is responsible for coordinating the worldwide financial services activities of Volkswagen and specialises in the provision of financial services mainly relating to the distribution and financing of motor vehicles of the Volkswagen group brands.

D'Ieteren distributes Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Yamaha vehicles, spare parts and after-sales services for the same brands across Belgium. It is also active in Belgium in the sale of used vehicles. D'Ieteren also controls Belron, the worldwide leader in vehicle glass repair and replacement, which trades under different brands including Carglass, Autoglass and Safelite Auto Glass.

VDFin will provide a full range of financial services related to the sale of Volkswagen group vehicles on the Belgian market.

Merger control rules and procedures

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and 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:

http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=2_M_6436

Contacts :

Amelia Torres (+32 2 295 46 29)

Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)

1 :

The EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.


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