European Commission - Press release
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of G6 Rete Gas by F2i and AXA Private Equity
Brussels, 24 August 2011 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control of the Italian company G6 Rete Gas by Fondi Italiani per le Infrastrutture ("F2i") and three investment funds indirectly managed by AXA Private Equity, which are part of the AXA Group.
The Commission examined the transaction's impact on the gas sector. The Commission found that this transaction leads to a limited horizontal overlap between F2i and G6 Rete Gas' activities in the market for gas distribution via medium- and low-pressure pipelines in Italy and that a sufficient number of competitors would remain active on the markets concerned.
In Italy, gas distribution services are provided under concessions granted by the local municipalities. The concessionaire has a local monopoly for a fixed period of time after which the municipality seeks tenders under the appropriate Italian legislation for the new concession.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA)1 or any substantial part of it.
The acquisition was notified to the Commission on 18 July 2011.
Companies and products
F2i (Fondi Italiani per le Infrastrutture) manages the assets of F2i Fund and acts on its behalf. F2i Fund invests in assets in infrastructure and network-based sectors.
AXA Private Equity is part of the French insurance company AXA Group. It is active in asset management and indirectly manages the three AXA Funds investing in G6 Rete Gas.
G6 Rete Gas provides gas distribution and ancillary services and holds distribution concessions in 474 Italian municipalities.
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 Article 1 of the Merger Regulation). Its duty is to prevent acquisitions 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).
EU merger clearance does not prejudge the result of other possible probes under State aid or antitrust rules.
More information on the case will be available at:
Amelia Torres (+32 2 295 46 29)
Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)
The EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.