Brussels, 12 November 2012
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of part of French insurance company Gan Eurocourtage by rival Helvetia
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by the French subsidiary of the Helvetia insurance group (Switzerland) of marine and transport insurance contracts (excluding aviation and space) and related brokerage businesses, assets and liabilities belonging to the French insurance company Gan Eurocourtage SA. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the notified operation would not raise competition concerns because it would not significantly alter the market structure.
The Commission examined in particular the competitive effects of the proposed acquisition on the production, underwriting and distribution of marine hull insurance for sea-going vessels and inland crafts and for transport liability insurance in France, which is the only country in the European Economic Area (EEA) where the companies' have a combined market share above 15%.
Given the relatively low combined market shares of the parties and the presence of a number of strong and credible competitors, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 4 October 2012.
Companies and products
The Helvetia Group is a pan-European insurance company active both in the life and the non-life insurance sectors.
The Target is the self-standing insurance portfolio of Gan Eurocourtage relating to Marine and Transport Insurance contracts (excluding aviation and space) and their related assets underwritten in France and various French overseas territories.
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:
Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)
Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)