European Commission - Press release
Mergers: Commission approves proposed joint venture between Hochtief and GeoSea
Brussels, 30 August 2011 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over Beluga Hochtief Offshore (BHO) by the German company Hochtief, currently its sole owner, and the Belgian company GeoSea.
The Commission examined the horizontal overlaps between the parties' activities in the renting of specialised vessels to the offshore industry and a potential vertical relationship between this activity and the downstream market for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of offshore facilities where both Hochtief and GeoSea are active.
In each case, the Commission found that the proposed acquisition would not raise concerns as the companies' shares on the markets at issue are not significant.
The Commission also found that the joint venture would not lead to any anti-competitive effects in terms of potential coordination between the activities of BHO's parent companies on other markets that are unrelated to BHO's field of activities.
As a result, the Commission concluded that the proposed joint venture, notified for clearance on 25 July 2011, would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA)1 or any substantial part of it.
HOCHTIEF is active in construction, concessions, real estate, and facility and energy management.
GeoSea is a Belgian company specialising in offshore works. It is part of the Belgian dredging and marine infrastructure group DEME (Dredging Environmental & Marine Engineering NV) whose activities covers dredging and land reclamation, hydraulic engineering, environmental services, extraction and processing and supply of marine aggregates for the construction industry. DEME is in turn controlled by Ackermans & van Haaren, a publicly listed Belgian-based industrial investment Group; and CFE, a publicly listed civil contractor controlled by the French construction and concession group Vinci.
The joint venture will be active in the renting of specialised vessels to the offshore industry for use in the repair, maintenance and operation of offshore facilities such as wind farms.
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 concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (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:
Amelia Torres (+32 2 295 46 29)
Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)
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