Brussels, 20 September 2012
Mergers: Commission approves e-mobility joint venture between Austrian electricity provider Verbund and German technology firm Siemens
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint venture between Verbund, the largest Austrian electricity provider, and Siemens of Germany, to provide e-mobility services across Austria. E-mobility services are needed for operating electric vehicles, including the provision of charging infrastructure, electricity from renewable sources and information services. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the operation did not give rise to any competition concerns, in particular because there is no overlap between the parties' activities.
There are no overlaps between the activities of Verbund and Siemens for the provision of e-mobility services. The Commission verified that barriers to entry and expansion are relatively low, as inputs are readily available and investment costs for charging stations and other equipment are very moderate. The Commission is satisfied that the technology used by the joint venture, economic incentives, and regulatory oversight will lead to effective competition based on an open standard for e-mobility services in Austria, which will thus be accessible to all operators.
Vertical relationships exist between Verbund's activity of supplying electricity to industry and large commercial customers and Siemens's activities in the manufacture, supply and installation of charging infrastructure for e-mobility solutions. While Verbund is an important electricity supplier, the amount of energy needed for e-mobility services is so low that there is no risk of shutting out competitors from the market. On the other hand, while Siemens is a supplier of charging infrastructure for e-mobility solutions, there are many other suppliers on this market so that likewise there is no risk that customers would be shut out from access to these products and services.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 16 August 2012.
Companies and products
Verbund is an Austrian electricity supply company, whose core business includes generating and transmitting electricity, as well as electricity trading.
Siemens is a global electronics and electrical engineering company focusing on the four sectors of energy, healthcare, industry, and infrastructure and cities.
E-Mobility Provider Austria, the joint venture company, will provide e-mobility services, namely the services needed for operating electric vehicles, such as in particular the provision of charging infrastructure, electricity from renewable sources and information services.
The market for e-mobility services in Austria is currently served by a number of mostly local or regional suppliers. It is an emerging market, as there are currently fewer than a 1,000 electrical cars on the streets.
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 notified 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).
More information on the case is available at: