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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 16 July 2012

Mergers: Commission approves creation of Taxibot joint venture by EADS and Israel Aerospace Industries

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over a newly established joint venture by Airbus SAS of France, part of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS) of The Netherlands, and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI). The joint venture will produce a pilot-controlled semi-robotic tugging tractor for aircraft, called "Taxibot". The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not give rise to competition concerns.

Taxibot is an innovative product that can be connected to large commercial aircraft so as to allow a plane's pilot to taxi to and from the runway using the plane's controls while relying on Taxibot's engine and fuel. An aircraft using Taxibot would be able to start its engines just before take-off and cut them just after landing. This is expected to reduce jet fuel consumption, providing environmental benefits and operational efficiencies. Target customers are airports, ground handling service providers, leasing companies and airlines.

The Commission has concluded that the proposed transaction would not negatively affect competition in markets within the scope of the joint venture's activity, given the novelty of Taxibot.

The Commission examined whether competition concerns could arise from the proposed transaction as a result of the strong position of Airbus in the closely related market for the supply of aircraft. However, the Commission found that the proposed transaction would not give rise to the shutting out of rivals in the supply of new alternative taxiing solutions or the supply of aircraft.

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 transaction was notified to the Commission on 11 June 2012.

Companies and products

Airbus Invest S.A.S is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the French company Airbus S.A.S, which is active world-wide in civil and military aircraft. EADS, Airbus’ ultimate parent company, is active globally in the research, design, development, manufacture, modification, sale and servicing of commercial and military aircraft, guided weapons, satellites, drones, space vehicles, electronics and telecommunications equipment.

IAI is a company wholly-owned by the State of Israel, which is active in the aerospace and defence sectors. Headquartered in Tel Aviv, IAI is a global supplier of defence and space systems, military and civil aircraft, and aircraft maintenance services.

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:

Contacts :

Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)

Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)

1 :

The EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

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