European Commission - Press release
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Swedish maritime transport terminal Älvsborg by shipping conglomerate DFDS and terminal operator C.RO Ports
Brussels, 02 April 2012 - The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Älvsborg, a roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden, by the shipping conglomerate DFDS and terminal operator C.RO Ports. The Commission's investigation confirmed that following the transaction alternative terminals remain for competing shipping lines and DFDS and CLdN, a shipping service provider belonging to the same owners as C.RO Ports, will continue to compete with each other on the shipping routes operated from Älvsborg.
The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed acquisition in particular on the markets for short-sea Ro-Ro shipping services on the Gothenburg-UK and Gothenburg-Belgium/Northern France routes given that these routes are currently operated by DFDS and CLdN.
The Commission's investigation found that alternative terminals exist in Gothenburg, as demonstrated by the recent entry of a new shipping line North Sea Ro-Ro which now operates a route from Gothenburg to the UK. Moreover, the concession agreement concluded between the Gothenburg Port Authority and Älvsborg requires Älvsborg to treat shipping lines wishing to use Älvsborg in a non-discriminatory manner. Finally, Älvsborg itself still has spare capacity. The Commission therefore considers it unlikely that the parties will be able to prevent competing Ro-Ro shipping lines from providing services on the Gothenburg-UK and Gothenburg-Sweden routes. Furthermore, the Commission concluded on the basis of the market investigation that DFDS and CLdN would continue to compete on routes originating from Älvsborg. Customers wishing to ship goods from Älvsborg can therefore continue to benefit from actual and potential competition between the parties.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it.
The proposed transaction was notified to the Commission on 27 February 2012.
Background on companies and products
DFDS A/S (Denmark) is active in short sea/ferry transport in Northern Europe, including roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) and container shipping, terminal services, passenger transport services and trailer services, contract logistics and freight forwarding.
C.RO Ports S.A. (Luxembourg) also provides Ro-Ro terminal services in the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands. It belongs to the same owners as CLdN Lignes Régulières SA (Luxembourg), which operates a network of Ro-Ro shipping services.
Älvsborg provides short-sea Ro-Ro terminal services at the Port of Gothenburg in Sweden. This transaction is part of the privatisation process of the whole of the Port of Gothenburg. As a result of the privatisation process, the Port has been divided into three separate terminals, Älvsborg being one of them.
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).