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IP/97/398

Brussels, 13th May 1997

COMMISSION CLEARS THE CREATION OF A JOINT VENTURE IN THE CONSUMER CREDIT SECTOR

The European Commission has approved the creation of a joint venture between the Caisse Nationale du Crédit Agricole (CNCA), Banco Ambrosiano Veneto S.p.A. (Ambroveneto) and Banque Sofinco (Sofinco) in the sector of the consumer credit in Italy.

CNCA, the head organisation of the French banking group Crédit Agricole, is owned by its 57 Regional branches. The Italian bank Ambroveneto is not controlled by other companies. Through Itafinco S.p.A. (Itafinco), CNCA and Ambroveneto are active in the consumer credit sector in Italy.

The French credit bank Banque Sofinco is owned by the Compagnie de Suez, the holding company of the Suez group, which is active in banking, insurance, energy and industry sectors. Sofinco is active in the consumer credit sector in Italy through its subsidiary Agos Service S.p.A. (Agos).

The new joint venture "Agos Itafinco" results from the merger of Itafinco and Agos activities. CNCA, Ambroveneto and Sofinco will have joint control over the new entity. The notified operation concerns only the consumer credit in Italy, i.e. a form of credit designed for financing household equipment goods and vehicles, which is granted on the premises where the acquisition takes place.

Considering that the combination of market shares in the market on which the enterprises concerned operate will not be high and that significant competitors exist, it appears that the concentration does not create or strengthen a dominant position, as a result of which effective competition would be impeded in the common market or in a substantial part of it.


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