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European Commission - Press release

Mergers: Commission closes investigation after Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione abandons notified transaction

Brussels,27 April 2012 – The Commission has closed an in-depth investigation opened in January 2012 (see IP/12/29) into the proposed acquisition of a branch of the Italian state-owned ferry group Tirrenia by Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione ("CIN") of Italy, after the parties abandoned the notified transaction. CIN was initially created as a joint-venture between Tirrenia's main competitors, Grimaldi, Marinvest and Onorato Partecipazioni. Grimaldi and Marinvest now withdrew from CIN. A new transaction, involving the remaining shareholder Onorato Partecipazioni and possibly other new shareholders is expected to be notified to the competent competition authority.

On 21 November 2011, CIN had notified the planned acquisition of a branch of Tirrenia to the Commission, which opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation on 18 January 2012. The Commission’s initial market investigation had indicated serious competition concerns, in particular because Tirrenia and CIN would have had very high combined market shares on a number of maritime routes in Italy, and in particular on certain routes to and from Sardinia thereby affecting millions of travellers each year.

The deadline for adopting a decision on the compatibility of the planned transaction has been suspended under Article 11(3) of the Merger Regulation from 13 February 2012 as CIN and its shareholders failed to provide information requested by the Commission that was necessary for the assessment.

Companies and markets

CIN is a company which has been created for the purpose of the present transaction by Marinvest S.r.l., Grimaldi Compagnia di Navigazione S.p.A. and Onorato Partecipazioni S.r.l.

Marinvest is the holding company of a group of companies active in the passenger and freight shipping sector. It controls MSC Crociere S.p.A. (which is active in the cruise sector), GNV and SNAV S.p.A.. Both GNV and SNAV carry out maritime freight and passenger transport services in the Mediterranean Sea.

Onorato Partecipazioni is a holding company which controls, among others, Moby, a company active in maritime freight and passenger transport services in the Mediterranean Sea.

Grimaldi is a shipping company active in the market of maritime freight and passenger transport services, both on Atlantic and Mediterranean routes.

Tirrenia provides passenger and freight maritime transport services connecting mainland Italy with some of the Italian islands, primarily Sardinia and Sicily.

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). The opening of a full probe does not prejudge its outcome.

There are currently four other phase II investigations. The first one concerns the planned acquisition of control over the sugar trader ED&F MAN by the German sugar and molasses producer Südzucker (see IP/11/1327), with a deadline set for 22 May 2012. The second ongoing phase II investigation was opened in March into the proposed acquisition of EMI's recorded music business by Universal (see IP/12/311). The deadline for this investigation is 6 September 2012. The third ongoing phase II investigation, also opened in March, concerns the proposed acquisition of control over Goodrich by United Technology in the aviation equipment sector (see IP/12/308), with a deadline set for 9 August 2012. The fourth case, opened in April 2012, concerns the proposed creation of a joint venture in the UK between Vodafone, Telefónica and Everything Everywhere (see IP/12/367). The deadline for this investigation is 27 August 2012.

Several State aid cases involving Tirrenia di Navigazione are also under assessment by the Commission (see IP/11/1157 of 05 October 2011), in particular regarding the conditions of the privatisation and the future public service obligations.

More information on the case will be available at:

Contact :

Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)

Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)

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